On April 20, 2022, Tennessee adopted a new law that requires employers to allow employees who are veterans to have the entirety of Veteran’s Day as an unpaid holiday under certain conditions. The new law became effective immediately upon adoption.
Under the new law, employers with one or more employees are required to provide veterans with the unpaid holiday if they provide the employers with:
- At least one-month’s written notice of their intent to have the day as an unpaid holiday; and
- Proof of their veteran status (DD Form 214 or other comparable certificate of discharge from the armed forces).
Under this law, veterans include former members of the U.S. armed forces and members (former or current) of a Reserve or a Tennessee National Guard unit that was called into active military service of the United States.
The new law also allows employers to deny providing Veteran’s Day as an unpaid holiday if they determine that their veteran employees’ absence, either alone or in combination with other veteran employees, will impact public health or safety, or cause them significant economic or operational disruption.
Next Steps for Employers
Employers may wish to update their holiday policy to include information regarding this benefit. Employers should also ensure that managers and supervisors are aware of the leave entitlement and understand their obligation for approving time off requests or whom to consult with if they believe the request would cause a significant economic or operational disruption prior to denying the request.
It also recommended that internal procedures include a consistent framework for determining whether a leave request would cause a significant economic or operational disruption to ensure that time off requests are handled as consistently as possible to reduce claims of discrimination.