Do You Qualify for FMLA Benefits at Vanderbilt University?

Parental Leave Requests & Benefits Do You Qualify for FMLA Benefits at Vanderbilt University?

What is Vanderbilt's FMLA Policy for Employees?

Family leave or maternity leave is considered a standard benefit in many affluent countries in the 21st century. The best countries with the most lenient maternity leave policies include Finland, Germany, Iceland, and Norway. The United States, sadly, ranks near the bottom in maternity policies among affluent countries. Finland entitles parents to 164 days of paternity leave EACH. Germany allows parents to claim separate benefits for both parents to take off until a child is 3 years old.

In the United States, these benefits are virtually unheard of. Many companies in the United States offer 2 weeks or fewer of paid maternity benefits to parents, and some only offer 70% pay or less per parent while on paternity leave. We do have a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but it only entitles certain employees who have been with their company a year or longer and who work 1,250 hours or more. The benefits are nowhere near as lenient as they are in other affluent, developed nations.

While both the United States House and Senate have mentioned the need for better maternity/paternity or family leave benefits for American workers, neither side, Democrat nor Republican, have passed any sort of legislation to improve on the current benefits offered to a small percentage of workers today. Only a few states offer benefits to parents or families for employees to take paid or partially paid time off to care for ailing family members or new children entering a family.

This article will discuss  policy and how you can apply for it.

Do Employees in Tennessee Get Maternity Leave?

Employees in Tennessee where Vanderbilt University is located do not have any maternity laws for leave put in place by the state of Tennessee. The only benefits available to employees in the state of Tennessee are those put in place by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) at the federal level. The FMLA benefits only cover those who have worked for their employer for 12 months (1 year or more) and who work more than 1,250 hours for their employer during that period of time.

Otherwise, employees in Tennessee are left with only unpaid or no maternity benefits at their disposal if they have an ill family member or welcome a child into their family through birth, surrogacy, or adoption. Sadly, many employees will then have to choose between their jobs that help them receive a paycheck or spending time with their ailing loved one or newborn child as a result.

What Maternity/Paternity Benefits Does Vanderbilt University Offer Employees?

Vanderbilt University does offer limited benefits to prospective parents or those who need to care for an ailing loved one through their maternity/paternity benefits program. The following are benefits that the university offers to families when they are expecting children in their family:

  1. 2-Week Wait Period

Mothers who take time off for maternity leave will have to pass a 2-week waiting period on disability before benefits are paid to the mother in full for 2 weeks of paid time off for having a child.

  1. Enrollment in Short-Term Disability Helps

Those employees who are enrolled in short-term disability can receive up to 2/3 of their pay (i.e. $30,000 salary they get $20,000) up to $24,000 of annual salary payout per employee.

  1. Breakdown of Information

More breakdown of disability benefits for maternity leave for having a child can be broken down and found here for several scenarios.

If you have more questions for Human Resources (HR) feel free to contact them about  policy. They will help you understand your rights and benefits, as well as the expectations of you through employment while having your child(ren).

Do I Qualify for Federal FMLA Benefits?

Vanderbilt University employees may often wonder if they qualify for the federal Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA) benefits that are offered to employees who meet certain criteria. First, you must meet the following criteria to qualify for these additional federal benefits:

  1. Work for a covered employer
  2. 1,250 hours worked during the 12 months prior to the start of the leave.
  3. Working at a company with 50 or more employees working or within 75 miles of it
  4. Worked for the employer for 12 months prior to taking leave

If you meet these criteria, then you are allowed to take time off for one of the following reasons and will be fairly compensated by the federal government:

  • The birth of a child and those who care for a newborn child within one year of birth
  • The placement of a child for adoption or foster care by the employee within the last year
  • To care for the employee's spouse, parent, or child with a serious illness
  • A serious health condition that leaves them unable to perform essential functions of their jobs
  • Any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on "covered active duty

The FMLA benefits are a great addition to the Vanderbilt University maternity/paternity benefits that are already in place. A large percentage of employees who have worked for Vanderbilt University for a year or more are eligible to receive these benefits. However, for those who are not eligible to receive adequate benefits from the FMLA program, it's often a choice between their job and their family, as these individuals struggle to provide for their families while also taking time off when it is needed the most to care for an ill immediate family member or to welcome a new member into their family through birth, adoption, surrogacy, foster care, or other means.

You can also check DoNotPay’s state guides for more information:

CaliforniaNew YorkNew Jersey
TexasMassachusettsRhode IslandFlorida
MichiganTennesseeNew HampshireWisconsin
North CarolinaColoradoHawaiiIndiana
AlabamaArkansasMississippiSouth Carolina
South DakotaNew MexicoWyoming

DoNotPay Can Help You Get a Note for Maternity Leave

Many employers, including Vanderbilt University, provide a certain amount of time off, whether paid or unpaid, to allow their employees time with their families when a loved one goes through a serious illness or a child is brought into the family. No matter what your personal situation is, the following are the 6 simple steps that you must complete to allow DoNotPay to address a note to your employer explaining why you will need an extended period of time off from your job for personal reasons:

  1. Tell us which state you work in (if you work in CA, NY, NJ, MA, WA, or DC, your state has a paid family leave program).


  2. Choose whether you want us to apply to the program for you or contact your employer with your leave request. If you want to apply for the program, we will walk you through the questions on the form and mail the application form for you.


  3. If you want us to contact your employer, enter your leave details, including the starting date, number of weeks of leave, and how many weeks of paid leave you are requesting (for example, you may take a 12 week leave, but only request 8 weeks of paid leave to make the request reasonable).


  4. Indicate whether you are the birth parent or not (birth parents have a few additional legal protections).


  5. Enter the name of your company and the person to address this request to.


  6. Select whether you want us to email the request to your employer on your behalf.


These letters are simply sent to the email you specify after you apply for a letter to submit to your employer for time off. The earlier you let your employer know that you will need extended time off, the easier it will be to get the benefits and paid time off you deserve. Then you can come back to your regular job after your leave and pick up right where you left off.

What Else Can DoNotPay Do for Me?

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The goal of DoNotPay is to save you time and money while eliminating the aggravation of comparing prices and contracts in order to save the most you possibly can. DoNotPay does the research and the "leg work" to simply allow you to choose the easy comparisons through our tools to help you save time and money in your daily life.

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