Governor Bill Lee announced on Wednesday his decision to work toward paid family leave for state employees through the legislative process instead of an executive order.
“After consultation with legislative leaders, we feel the best course of action is to implement paid family leave via legislation rather than executive order,” Governor Lee said during the announcement on Wednesday. “We will propose legislation that is retroactive to March 1, 2020, so that no state employee is negatively impacted by this change in course.”
Legislative leaders also issued statements supportive of the Governor’s decision, pointing out that an executive order is impermanent. “An executive order can be removed at will by any future governor. With legislation, if any changes to the policy are made, they would be permanent,” Lt. Gov. Randy McNally said.
House Speaker Cameron Sexton said in a statement, “We agree with Governor Lee’s decision to proceed on this issue through legislation. This path will allow everyone to have a voice in the process and make this policy permanent.”
Soon after the announcement, TSEA Executive Director Randy Stamps issued this statement: “We will continue to work with Governor Lee and the legislative leadership to provide fair and beneficial paid family medical leave for state employees. Legislation will ensure this policy will be a lasting legacy for our Governor and the legislature. We will be meeting with Lee Administration officials later this week.”
Gov. Lee’s Executive Order 11 would have provided 12 weeks of paid family leave to state employees effective March 1, 2020.
This is a developing story. We will provide details as they become available.
Additional information and media coverage:
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee to pursue paid family leave through legislation, not executive order
Lee Changes Course on Offering 12 Weeks of Paid Family Leave
To view the TN Department of Human Resources email to state employees about the change, click here.