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Tennessee Job Security Under FMLA

Posted by Tamara

In Tennessee, the Family and Medical Leave Act presents some confusing questions for many employees. For example, many employees have received conflicting information about the obligation of companies to keep their jobs open for them if they should have to go on FMLA leave.

Employees can take leave under FMLA when they have a child, or after the adoption of a child. FMLA leave may also be taken after the placement of a foster child.

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act does not stipulate that employers have to hold anyone’s job open while that person is on leave. What it does stipulate is that when an employee returns to work from being out on FMLA leave, he or she is entitled to return to their same job, or to a job that is very similar in nature.

A job that is similar in nature would have essentially the same benefits, wages, and working conditions.

Since employers are not required to keep anyone’s job open, then the next question that usually follows is, how do employers go about filling those temporarily vacant positions? There are, of course, a number of ways that this could be accomplished. A lot of it depends on the type of position that needs to be filled.

For instance, if a job involves a great deal of responsibility and decision-making, it would probably be much harder to fill. One of the best ways to handle such a scenario is to temporarily promote a current worker to that job. The individual might have the temporary title of “Acting Fire Captain” or “Acting Manager”. Either way, that employee should know from the very beginning that he or she is only filling in until the regular employee returns to work.

This type of strategy is great for the company. Not only does it fill a temporarily vacant position without having to go through hiring someone new, it allows another worker to gain some different experience that will add to his or her resume.

For positions that are not quite so complex, it may be enough for a company to hire a temporary worker from an agency. The temp should be informed that the job would not last indefinitely, however.

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