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Family and Medical Leave

The university provides time off to eligible university employees consistent with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq. (FMLA), Tennessee Parental Leave Act, Tennessee Code Annotated § 4-21-408 (TPLA) and the University of Tennessee’s Paid Parental Leave (PPL) policy for the following reasons:

  • Serious health condition of the employee
  • Serious health condition of the employee’s family member
  • To provide care for a family member injured while on active military duty
  • Qualifying exigent circumstances arising from a family member’s military service
  • Childbirth
  • Adoption
  • Foster care placement

To learn more about the family medical leave or paid parental leave process, contact Human Resources at 865-974-6642 or FamilyMedicalLeave@utk.edu.

Employees must meet the requirements outlined in HR policies HR0338 Family and Medical Leave and HR0339 Parental Leave to utilize time off consistent with these policies.

The 12-month period during which FMLA benefits are calculated begins on the first day of the employee’s first FMLA leave period of the year. For example, if an employee commences FMLA leave on February 1 and exhausts his or her leave, he or she will not be entitled to FMLA leave until February 1 of the following year. Upon return from FMLA leave, the employee will be restored to his or her position or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.

Maternity and Paternity Leave

Eligible employees are entitled to the following leave in regard to childbirth, adoption, and foster care placement.

Childbirth and Adoption

Effective July 1, 2021, the university provides six weeks of paid parental leave to eligible employees for childbirth and adoption, for births and adoptions that occur on or after July 1, 2021. This benefit is available to regular, active employees (including 9-month faculty) as defined in Human Resources policy HR0105, assigned to work at least 75% time and employed for at least twelve consecutive months prior to the start of the requested leave. Adoptive parents may use their paid parental leave before placement if necessary to fulfill the legal requirements of the adoption process. This leave runs concurrently with the 12 weeks provided by the federal FMLA.  Additionally, the State of Tennessee allows up to four months of leave for pregnancy, childbirth and adoption for full-time employees who have been employed at least 12 consecutive months.

With the approval of the department and Human Resources, part of this leave may be taken to establish a reduced schedule for the purpose of transitioning back to full-time employment.

Foster Care Placement

FMLA provides up to 12 weeks for foster care placement. Leave in advance of the placement of the child can be taken if the leave is necessary for the placement to proceed. Otherwise, the leave must be taken within 12 months after foster care placement of the child. With the approval of the department and Human Resources, a portion of this leave may be taken to establish a reduced schedule for the purpose of transitioning back to full-time employment. If both spouses are employees of the university, their combined total of available leave is 12 weeks.

Insurance

For questions about insurance payments while on Family Medical Leave or to inquire about adding a child to your existing insurance, contact our Insurance Office at 865-974-5251.

Basic Group Insurance

While an employee is on paid medical leave, the university will continue to pay the employer’s share of the premium up to 12 weeks as required by federal law. If the employee is on unpaid medical leave and wishes to continue the medical insurance, the employee must pay in advance a monthly or quarterly sum equal to his or her share of the premium to the campus insurance office or the Office of the Treasurer. If the employee does not return from such leave of absence, the university may, with the approval of the chief financial officer, require the employee to reimburse the university’s share of the premiums paid.

If the employee does not pay premiums while on medical leave, coverage will lapse. Upon return from leave, the employee will have 30 days to reinstate prior coverage without providing evidence of insurability. Such coverage will apply to pre-existing conditions. 

Optional Insurance Plans

During medical leave without pay, membership may be continued in any of the group optional insurance plans to which the employee belongs prior to the leave. To do so, the employee must pay in advance a monthly or quarterly sum equal to the total of the premiums due on the plans that he or she wishes to maintain in force to the campus insurance office or the Office of the Treasurer.

Employees on medical leave who allow coverage to lapse due to nonpayment of premiums have 30 days from the leave return date to initiate reinstatement of coverage without evidence of insurability.

Lactation Rooms

Visit the Facilities Services webpage for a list of family restrooms and wellness/lactation rooms.

Reservations are not required to use the lactation rooms. However, to use the lactation room in TRECS, you must be buzzed in by the front desk staff. Women are expected to bring their own breast pumps.

Additional lactation rooms are being planned.