Military leave

All Hennepin County employees, including intermittent and non-permanent, are eligible for military leave of absence.

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Military leave of absence policy

Military leave limit

There is a five-year cumulative service limit on the amount of voluntary military leave an employee can use and still retain reemployment rights.

Paid leave

  • You have 15 days of Armed Forces Leave With Pay (15 paid leave days) available to you each payroll year. This is provided under Minnesota State law. If you are called to active duty, you must indicate whether you wish to use all or a portion of your 15 paid leave days.
  • You have paid vacation or PTO and may also have compensatory time and/or deferred holiday pay. If you are called to active duty, you must indicate whether you wish to use some or all of this paid leave time at the point you are no longer using all or a portion of your 15 paid leave days. Immediately following your paid military leave days, you may request to only use paid vacation or PTO accrued prior to your call to active duty.
  • If you know that your active duty will extend from one payroll year into the next payroll year without interruption:
    • You may request to use all or a portion of your 15 paid leave days allotted for the new payroll year. The county will not automatically provide your 15 paid leave days allotted for the new payroll year. Your request can be made at any time, to your payroll contact, up to the end of that new payroll year.
    • You may request paid vacation or PTO, compensatory time, and/or deferred holiday leave, and/or unpaid leave.

Unpaid leave

During unpaid leave, you will continue to accrue paid vacation and sick leave or PTO, but this leave will only be credited to you (and eligible for you to use) upon your return to county employment.

Annual military physical

You must submit orders showing that the physical is required in order for you to use a paid military leave day for the annual military physical.

Employment status and active military duty

Salary adjustments

While you are being paid your county salary, you will receive salary adjustments as usual. If you are using leave without pay, your salary rate will be adjusted to reflect any general salary adjustments and/or merit increases for which you would have otherwise been eligible.

Return to work

Subject to a few conditions, federal and state law requires the county – following your honorable discharge from active duty – to return you to the position you held at the time you were called to active military duty OR to a similar position of like seniority, status, and pay (depending on your length of active duty) at the same salary which you would have received if you had not been called to active duty.

When are you required to return to work following military discharge?

  • If your active military duty period is less than 31 days, you must report to work by the beginning of the first full pay period following honorable discharge and the expiration of eight hours after you are transported to your home.
  • If your active military duty period is between 30 days and 180 days (six months), you must submit an application to return to work (via email or phone call) to your supervisor within 14 days following such service.
  • If your active military duty period is in excess of 180 days (six months), you must submit an application to return to work to your supervisor within 90 days of such service.

Seniority

Your seniority will continue to accrue during your leave from county employment due to active military duty.

Probationary period

The employee’s probationary period is suspended when he/she begins active military leave without pay. The probationary period picks up where it left off when the employee returns to active county employment. The probationary employee is eligible to receive a regularly scheduled merit increase at the point he/she would normally receive it, as though he/she has been continuously employed and not on military leave.

Questions about your employment status

Contact your department’s Human Resources representative and/or your departmental payroll contact.

What to do when called to active duty

When called to active duty, you must

  1. Provide your supervisor with start and end dates of active duty
  2. Provide copy of military orders to payroll contact and Leave and Accommodation Management Office (attn: CK), mail code 040
  3. Notify payroll contact in writing whether:
    • All or a portion of the 15 paid leave days should be used
    • All or a portion of current accrued paid vacation, compensatory time, deferred holidays and/or PTO should be used
    • NOTE: If you code "military leave - unpaid" on your time sheet this does not count toward overtime hours. [updated 10/2012]
  4. Complete and submit the required designation of representative form. Designation of representative form (PDF)
  5. 121 Benefits, the County’s COBRA/Leave Administrator, will mail your benefits continuation material to your designated representative
    • What to expect from 121 Benefits
    • Paid active military duty — benefits continue as if an active employee
    • Unpaid active military duty — see benefits continuation details below

During active duty, you must

  1. Save leave earnings statements from the military
  2. Submit these statements with the county's military pay salary differential request form. Military pay salary differential request form (PDF)

Upon discharge, you must

  1. Provide a copy of Release from Active Duty form or form DD214 to your payroll contact and Accommodation Management Office (attn: CK), mail code 040
  2. Return to work
    • If active military duty period was less than 31 days, you must return to work beginning the first full pay period following honorable discharge and the expiration of 8 hours after you are transported to your home.
    • If active military duty period was between 30 days and 180 days, submit an application to return to work within 14 days. (Employee should contact supervisor in writing, or via telephone or e-mail)
    • If active military duty period was in excess of 180 days, submit an application to return to work within 90 days. (Employee should contact supervisor in writing, or via telephone or e-mail)
    • NOTE: Vacation cannot be used during the "reentry" period as employee is still considered to be on active duty.
  3. Email hr.lam.office@hennepin.us the Accommodation Management Office or call 612-348-4617 within one week from your return to work date in order to reactivate your benefits in APEX.
  4. Phone PERA at 651-296-7460 if you choose to purchase service credit.

Insurance benefits continuation during active military duty

Dental insurance — two options

  1. Suspend coverage; reactivates effective 1st day employee returns to work.
    If an open enrollment occurs during employee’s absence, he/she is allowed to enroll in the voluntary dental plan, add dependents, etc., as though he/she had participated in the open enrollment when it took place (coverage in this case is effective the day the employee returns to county employment).
  2. Continue coverage; must pay active employee share of required premium.
    Subject to same dental plan policies and open enrollment rules as though employee is actively working.

Health insurance — two options

  1. Suspend coverage; reactivates effective 1st day employee returns to work.
    If an open enrollment occurs during employee’s absence, he/she is allowed to add dependents, etc., as though he/she had participated in the open enrollment when it took place (coverage in this case is effective the day the employee returns to county employment). An exception will be made for the health assessment so you will receive a discount on specified copayments.
  2. Continue coverage; must pay active employee share of required premium.
    Subject to same health plan policies and open enrollment rules as though employee is actively working.

NOTE: If employee elects to keep their health insurance through the military, they can add county health insurance within 30 days of their military coverage ending by completing the family status change form (DOC). Employee must provide proof of loss of coverage.

Life insurance

Basic life

County continues to contribute toward this coverage for up to six months. After six months, employee may continue coverage at his/her own expense for up to 18 months. Accidental death and dismemberment coverage is not included. Employee may suspend coverage, in which case it automatically reactivates upon his/her return to work. No evidence of insurability is required.

Additional life

Employee may continue coverage at his/her own expense for up to 18 months. Accidental death and dismemberment coverage is not included. Employee may suspend coverage, in which case it will automatically reactivate upon his/her return to work. No evidence of insurability is required. No premium will be required for the month in which coverage reactivates.

Dependent life

If dependent life is suspended (even if additional life is continued), dependent life will automatically reactivate upon the employee’s return to work. No evidence of insurability is required. No premium will be required for the month in which coverage reactivates.

Long-term disability

Continues for up to six months. Could be longer if employee has a sick leave or PTO balance. Then coverage is suspended. Coverage is reactivated when employee returns to work.

Short-term disability

Continues for up to six months. Could be longer if employee has a sick leave or PTO balance. Then coverage is suspended. Coverage is reactivated when employee returns to work.

Other benefits continuation during active military duty

1% supplemental retirement

For eligible employees hired prior to 4/14/1982.

Contributions cease. Contributions automatically reactivate when employee returns to work. Employee and county contributions are authorized by state law only through payroll deduction.

Bus/light rail Go-To Card

Deductions cease and no value will be loaded to employee's Go-To Card after employee's last paycheck. Deductions automatically reactive on the first paycheck after employee returns to work.

Deferred compensation

Contributions cease. Contributions automatically reactivate when employee returns to work. Employee may make up contributions upon return to work provided payroll deductions are taken within time period equal to three times length of active military service (max = 5 years).

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
Health Care Expense Account (HCEA) and/or
Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP)

Contributions cease. Contributions automatically reactivate if employee returns to work in same payroll year. Otherwise, employee may re-enroll within 30 days of return to work by completing the flexible spending account mid-year change form (DOC).

Generally, health care expenses incurred during the leave cannot be reimbursed from your HCEA. If you are ordered or called to duty for a period of 180 or more days, you may request to receive the unused amount in your Health Care Expense Account (HCEA). This type of withdrawal is called a qualified reservist distribution (QRD); the withdrawal would be taxed as ordinary income. If you take a QRD and exhaust your HCEA, you will no longer be able to submit claims for reimbursement.

Health Care Savings Plan (HCSP)

Contributions cease. Contributions automatically reactivate when employee returns to work.

Health Care Savings Plan (HCSP) - Early Retiree Health Insurance Plan Opt-Out (ERHIP)

Applies to union employees only.

If you opted out of ERHIP, HCSP contributions cease. Contributions automatically reactivate when employee returns to work.

Holiday pay

HR Rule 12.3(d) states that an employee must be on the payroll on his/her scheduled work day immediately preceding and the scheduled work day immediately following a holiday or leave day with pay to be eligible for that day. For the purpose of determining eligibility for holiday or leave day with pay, "on the payroll" shall mean those who are on active status with the county and not on a leave of absence without pay.

Metropass

Email hr.benefits@hennepin.us to suspend your Metropass. Indicate in your email that you are suspending the Metropass due to military leave. Notification must be made by the 25th of the month prior to the month the Metropass is to be suspended. This allows you to keep your Metropass. The Metropass will continue to be active even though no deductions are being taken. Employee will be able to use their Metropass the first day they return to active employment.

Parking

Employee should complete the parking enrollment/change form (PDF) prior to leave. Under the parking change - reimbursement option section of the form, waive your deduction and write "military leave" next to the box. This allows you to keep the parking flexible spending account active even though no deductions are being taken. Employee will be able to use their parking flexible spending account the first day they return to active employment.

PERA

Employee contacts PERA upon discharge. Phone: 651-296-7460.

If you are a public employee, go on a military leave and return to public service upon your discharge, you may purchase credit for any or all of your leave, up to a maximum of five years.

To obtain credit, you must make your employee contribution. Your contribution will be based on the average of the last 12 months of salary before the leave. Full payment must be made within three times the length of the leave or five years, whichever is shorter. You have a minimum repayment period of one year. Employer contributions and any interest due are the obligation of the governmental agency reemploying you when you return from military service.

Paid time off (PTO)

Accrual occurs during active military. Accrued leave time is available for use after you return to work.

Sick leave

Accrual occurs during active military. Accrued leave time is available for use after you return to work.

Stability pay

If eligible to receive stability pay, employee receives payment in December. Pay is pro-rated based on county earnings for that year.

Trade Time for Fitness

Employees can submit claims for reimbursement as long as they have a sick leave/PTO balance.

Union dues

Employee may continue paying union dues or elect to suspend them by contacting OBF-Payroll at 612-348-4501.

Vacation

Accrual occurs during active military. Accrued leave time is available for use after you return to work.

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