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Family and Medical Leave Act

FMLA benefits were expanded on April 1, 2020 with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act). The Department of Labor’s regulations provide an exception to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) for post-secondary educational institutions, such as UTHSC, that “offer instruction in healthcare, medical school,... laboratory or medical testing... ” consistent with the nation’s response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Therefore, no entitlements under FFCRA are available to UTHSC employees. For additional information regarding FFCRA, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s website. Should you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact Human Resources at 901.448.5600 or

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was established by The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division and was created to protect qualified employees from the loss of employment and benefits while off for their own illness or injury or that of an eligible family member. The FMLA is designed to help qualified employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable leave for up to 12 workweeks and an additional 4 weeks for childbirth and adoption. The FMLA also seeks to accommodate the legitimate interests of the employer.


To be eligible for Family Medical Leave (FML), the employee must have been employed for one year in the past seven years and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12-month period prior to the first day of leave.

Basic Leave Entitlement

Eligible employees are granted up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • When the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition
  • To care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition
  • For placement with the employee of a child for foster care
  • For the birth or adoption of a child of the employee (Tennessee State law allows 4 months of FML for this purpose) 

Military Family Leave Entitlements

Eligible employees are granted up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Qualifying emergencies resulting from an employee's spouse, child, or parent being called to active duty or called to active duty status as a member of the National Guard or Reserves in support of contingency operation

Eligible employees are granted up to a total of 26 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • To care for a covered service member currently in the Armed Forces, National Guard, or Reserves who has a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty.


  1. An employee who needs leave should submit a FML Request Form to the Employee Relations office. If the employee is unable to complete the form, the employee’s department may submit the request form. This form may be submitted by fax, email, or delivered in person. A request for FML should be made 30 days in advance when possible. Requests received after an employee has returned to work for more than 48 hours will be denied.
  2. FML requests are processed in the Employee Relations office within 48 hours of their receipt. Employees are sent an acknowledgment of their request and the proper medical certification by mail. Department supervisors also receive a copy of this notification.
  3. Medical certifications must be received in the Employee Relations office within 15 calendar days of receipt of the above notice and are reviewed upon receipt. A letter of determination is mailed to the employee and a copy is forwarded to the department supervisor.
  4. Employees are required to exhaust, in order, all compensatory time, sick, annual, and personal leave while on approved FML before going into leave without pay status. Paid leave should run concurrently with FML and should be denoted on the employee's time sheet and entered into IRIS.

See Also » HR0338 Family and Medical Leave Policy (UT System)

FMLA Frequently Asked Questions

I have more than enough leave to cover my absence, why do I need to take FML?

The number of annual or sick leave hours has no bearing on whether FML should be used. Sick and annual leave does not bestow job protection like FML does. Furthermore, it is the requirement of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) that all covered employers notify eligible employees of their rights. If UTHSC-HR willfully violates the FML notification requirement, it would be in direct violation of the FMLA and with the WHD and penalties could follow.

All accrued leave will be used concurrently with any FML leave.

What happens if I refuse FML?
An employee is not required to apply or request FML. However, if the employees leave falls into a qualifying FML category, the leave can be designated and coded as FML. Due to university policy, absences not protected by FML may subject the employee to disciplinary action up to and including termination. UTHSC-HR encourages all employees to take advantage of this benefit and protection.
Who do I contact if I need FML?
If the need for FML arises, contact HR-Employee Relations at 901-448-8481. If the department receives notice that an employee has an FML-qualifying event, it should also contact HR-Employee Relations.


May 26, 2022