Tennessee Family Leave
Tennessee Maternity Leave Act (TMLA)
The Tennessee Family Leave Act mandates that public and private employers must maintain a maternity leave policy that allows female employees 16 weeks of unpaid leave for adoption, pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing of her infant. For an adoption, the four month period begins when the employee assumes custody of the child.
Federal FMLA vs Tennessee Family Leave Act
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law, whereas the Tennessee Family Leave Act applies to Tennessee workers only. Some key differences include:
Tennesse Family Medical Leave - Key Provisions
The Tennesse Maternity Leave Act has special provisions related to pregnancy and maternity that are important to know should you encounter a pregnancy with complications, and/or your child is born with special needs.
* The employee must have worked with the employer for the preceding 12 months as a full time employee.
Tennessee Maternity Leave - How to Afford the Time Off
The last difference highlights a crucial element that many couples miss until it is too late. When a couple utilizes the health benefit plan from mom's employer the cost of vital coverage may shoot up when the need is greatest. Suppose mom experiences complications during her pregnancy and she misses more than four months of work, or her employer is not subject to FMLA. Her employer can legally require her to begin paying the full premium. Many couples are surprised by how much COBRA premiums actually cost.
The Tennessee Maternity Leave law does not provide for paid leave for workers. Nor does the state have any mandated short term disability coverage. The FMLA provides for unpaid leave only. Can you afford to miss four months of work? It's great that Tennessee provides job protection, but how will you pay your bills?
Buying supplemental maternity coverage before getting pregnant is an ideal way to protect against this exposure. There are two policies that make great sense when things go according to plan, and protect your family finances when things don’t and you need the full sixteen weeks afforded by the TN regulation. The statute is in place because legislators understand that complications of pregnancy are quite common, and women often need extended time away from the job to get the proper rest. Also, infants are often born preterm or seriously ill, requiring extended care at home or in the hospital.
Short term disability replaces a portion of mom’s income during the time she misses prior to delivery, and while recovering from childbirth. Hospital indemnity pay benefits directly to the insured for a hospital stay, along with additional benefits if your infant(s) require specialized care in the hospital due to a medical reason.
Source: Tennessee Code 4-21-408