The New Year is a time for self-reflection and setting priorities to improve oneself for the future. One of those areas of improvement should include vowing to save your sick leave and to build up a healthy reserve in case you need to use it for a serious health issue. With COVID-19 and flu season approaching, TSEA wants to highlight the benefits of having sick leave and recommend that you save your leave for times when it is needed most.
There are a few things employees should remember when using leave and the consequences of finding yourself in a situation where you do not have any leave.
• Even though you accrue one sick leave day per month of service, you should keep in mind that the use of the benefit is permissive and not a right of employment. Your supervisor may require that you obtain a doctor’s statement for yourself, or for a qualifying family member, that specifically states why you could not be present to perform your normal job duties.
• If you have a major illness or sickness you may use Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which will guarantee your job and benefits for up to 12 weeks if the guidelines are used and you work with your Human Resources. If you have a chronic illness that does not require long periods of time away from work, you may request intermittent FMLA.
• Sick Leave Bank (SLB) is available and a tremendous benefit for all State employees. As long as you follow the guidelines, if approved, the SLB will allow you extended medical leave and will even allow your co-workers to donate time to you in the event you exhaust your leave benefit in the Sick Leave Bank.
• When all these methods are exhausted and you have no annual or compensatory leave, it could put you in a difficult position as an employee. If you find yourself in a leave without pay status, there are no provisions that require the State of Tennessee or any employer to retain you.