Gov. Bill Lee today signed an executive order to provide 12 weeks of paid family leave for State Employees.
According to the Tennessean’s coverage of today’s announcement, Tennessee will be the only state providing 12 weeks of paid time off across the entire spectrum of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which also includes leave for other issues.
“Strong families make for strong communities, and I am proud that Tennessee will lead the nation in supporting our employees,” Gov. Bill Lee said in a press release. “This is an impactful investment in the state workforce and will allow us to continue to attract and retain the best workforce possible.”
Currently, under the FMLA, eligible state employees are entitled to up to 12-weeks of unpaid leave for specific purposes during any 12-month period without fear of losing their job. State employees typically use sick leave during these times.
According to the Lee administration press release, expanded paid family leave will apply through executive order to all state executive branch employees under the TEAM Act effective March 1, 2020.
During the upcoming legislative session, members of the Tennessee General Assembly through legislation will seek to expand this benefit to other state employees not under the TEAM Act.
“Paid family leave will improve quality of life for state employees both at work and at home. I am grateful to Governor Lee and Senator Dickerson for making this a priority,” Lt. Governor Randy McNally said.
NOTE: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that legislation being considered by the General Assembly would seek to expand paid leave to Higher Education employees. However, paid leave for University employees must be considered by each individual campus. TSEA is in contact with representatives from each school about this issue and will keep you up to date on any progress.
Recently, UT announced a taskforce to consider providing 12-weeks paid leave for their employees by July 1. In addition, UT announced a new leave policy that will allow UT employees paid time off for organ donation or to donate bone marrow effective March 1, 2020.
We were also glad to see East Tennessee State University President Dr. Brian Noland quickly responding to the Governor’s Executive order for paid FMLA to state employees with a promise to review ETSU’s parental leave policy.
We will continue to keep you up to date on this developing story.