FMLA, Maternity/Paternity Leave
You may be entitled to Family and Medical Leave of up to 12 weeks under circumstances when you or a covered family member meets certain criteria. First, except for limited exceptions, including government employers, you must work for an employer with 50 or more employees within a 75 mile radius in order to enjoy FMLA coverage. You must also work for that employer for at least 1 year and 1,250 hours. If you meet this criteria, you may be entitled to job-protected leave from employment for your own serious health condition or the serious health condition of a covered family member (including spouse, child, parent, or grandparent). You may also take leave for the birth or adoption of a child (regardless of your sex). You may also qualify for FMLA leave to care for a covered service member (in which you may take a total of 16 weeks of FMLA leave) or when a covered family member is called to active duty.
In Tennessee, parents are also permitted maternity/paternity leave of up to 16 weeks for the birth of or adoption of a child. Note: this leave runs concurrently with any FMLA leave for a total of 16 weeks and only applies to employers with at least 100 employees.
Employers may not “interfere” with your right to take FMLA leave. Interference can take many forms, but includes such actions as: failure to apprise you of your FMLA rights, failure to reasonably approve leave properly applied for, and allowing you less FMLA time than you would otherwise be entitled. Your employer must also not “retaliate” against you for taking FMLA leave. Regrettably, some employers see the FMLA is a burden on its business and the workload of your co-workers. This is not a proper consideration by an employer if it is subject to the FMLA. If you have exercised (or attempted to exercise) your FMLA rights, your employer cannot take adverse action against you such as: termination, demotion, pay reduction, or failing to promote.
If you believe you may qualify for FMLA leave or for Paternity/Maternity leave and wish to learn more about your legal rights, please contact us. Also, if you believe your employer has interfered with your attempts to take protected leave or has retaliated against you for taking such leave, one of our experienced attorneys will be pleased to inform you more about your legal rights.