Interaction with Tennessee's Parental Leave Act

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Tennessee has a parental leave law (T.C.A. § 4-21-408) that applies to all employers who employ 100 or more full-time employees at a job site or location. This state law allows both male and female employees to take up to four months off for adoption, pregnancy, childbirth and nursing an infant, as long as the employee has been employed for 12 months. The leave may be with or without pay, at the option of the employer. This law requires that the employee give at least three months advance notice, except in cases of medical emergency.

The FMLA does not supersede the Tennessee law, since the Tennessee law provides greater benefits. Therefore, if you have 100 or more employees, and an employee gives at least three months’ advance notice, you must allow the employee to take leave up to a total of four months (which can include the 12 workweeks of FMLA leave) for adoption, pregnancy, childbirth and nursing an infant. Note that under Tennessee’s law the employee may choose to begin leave before the birth of the child; for adoption the four-month period begins at the time the employee receives custody of the child. For a discussion of the interaction of the state law with the FMLA, see Op. Tenn. Att’y Gen. 94-006 (1/13/94).