Tennessee has a maternity/paternity leave law which permits both male and female full-time employees with 12 consecutive months of service to have four months of unpaid leave for adoption, pregnancy, childbirth and nursing a new infant. In order for an employee to be covered, the employer must have 100 or more employees on the job site or location at which the employee requesting leave is employed.
The employee must give three months’ advance notice except for medical emergency. With regard to adoption, the four-month leave period begins on the date that the employee receives custody of the child. Typically, the leave is job-protected. However, there is an exception if the employee is so “unique” that the employer, after reasonable efforts, cannot fill the position temporarily.
Tennessee law further requires that employers with one or more employee(s) provide reasonable unpaid break time to a female employee who needs to express breast milk for her infant and to make reasonable efforts to provide a room close to the work area, other than a toilet stall, so the employee can express the milk in privacy. Such break time may run concurrently with any other break time provided by the employer to the employee.