Rhodes College will provide unpaid leave for eligible employees who have been employed by the College for at least twelve (12) months as a full-time employee for the birth, placement, or adoption of a child. Requests will be processed in accordance with the College’s sick leave policies, comp and vacation policies, the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), and the Tennessee Parental Leave Law, TN Code Annotated 4-21-408, as applicable. Faculty members who intend to request a maternity leave, should also consult both the Faculty Maternity Leave Under the Tennessee Maternity Leave Act and the Faculty Illness policy.
Upon receipt of the employee’s request for maternity, paternity, or adoptive parent leave, Human Resources will process the request in accordance with the College’s policies for leave, the Tennessee Parental Leave Law and the applicable provisions of FMLA.
In general, FMLA provides eligible employees:
- up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave during a 12 month period for specified family and medical reasons, including but not limited to maternity, paternity, and adoptive parent leave;
- continued health insurance coverage during the leave period;
- ensured reinstatement to the same or an equivalent position following leave period.
To be eligible for FMLA, the employee must have worked at least 1250 hours for the preceding 12 months before the first day of leave requested. FMLA is unpaid, however the employee is required to use all available accrued benefit time in the following order for pay during the leave: sick leave hours, comp time (if applicable), and finally vacation leave hours. When all paid benefit time has been exhausted prior to the end of the approved leave, the employee will be placed on unpaid status for the remainder of the approved leave.
In the event both parents are Rhodes College employees, the total amount of parental leave available is twelve (12) weeks. Leave taken under the FMLA for maternity, paternity or adoptive parent leave must be taken within one year of the birth or placement of the child. Employees who meet the eligibility requirements under the Tennessee Parental Leave Law may be entitled to an additional four (4) work weeks of unpaid leave upon request.
Unpaid Maternity leave and FMLA leave shall commence when in the opinion of the attending physician, the employee is no longer able to carry out her job duties due to her pregnancy. Eligible employees also may use Maternity leave and FMLA leave, if applicable, for prenatal care. Available sick leave, comp (if applicable), and vacation leave will be used for pre/post-natal care, recovery, and bonding. If the employee uses all available paid benefit time and is still considered to be unable to perform the employee’s duties as certified by the attending physician, the employee may request short-term disability (STD) benefits from the Benefits Services Manager, if applicable. At the time the employee is declared recovered and fit to return to work, STD pay will cease and the employee will be placed on unpaid leave for the remainder of the approved leave.
At the end of the twelve (12) weeks leave provided by FMLA, the employee may be entitled to an additional four (4) work weeks of unpaid leave under the Tennessee Parental Leave Law. To be granted this leave, the employee must meet the eligibility requirements including:
- Have at least 12 consecutive months as a full-time employee of Rhodes College prior to the commencement of covered leave;
- Give three (3) months advance notice of intent to take the leave, unless a medical emergency develops or the notice of adoption was received less than three months in advance;
- State the length of the leave and the intent to return to full-time status after the Maternity leave; and
- Not pursue any other employment in any way during the leave.
The College will provide paternity benefits to eligible full-time employees, who have worked for the College twelve (12) months, due to the birth of children in accordance with TN Code Annotated 4-21-408 and the FMLA. The guidelines and requirements are the same as stated in the “Maternity Leave” section of this policy. This leave is unpaid and the employee will use all accrued sick, comp (if applicable), and vacation time before being placed on unpaid leave.
Adoptive Parent Leave
Rhodes will provide unpaid leave for a period of up to four (4) months to eligible adoptive parents upon written request to the Benefits Services Manager and in accordance with the provisions of the FMLA and Tennessee Parental Leave Law, as applicable. This leave is unpaid and the employee will use all accrued sick, comp (if applicable), and vacation time before being placed on unpaid leave. The request should be accompanied by a statement from the adoption agency indicating the date of placement of the child. This section will not apply in the case of step-child or adult adoption. The four (4) months will commence when the employee receives custody of the child. The FMLA regulations provide for pre-custody activity related to adoption, such as attending counseling sessions, court appearances, and consultations with the attending physician, as necessary.