Employee parental leave

Employees can take a leave for the birth, adoption or foster care of a child.

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Time off

Time off for childbirth, adoption and foster care

  • Eligible employees are those who earn benefits
  • You may request up to 12 weeks of leave
  • Your job is protected during your approved block of time
  • Paid parental leave (childbirth and adoption only) is part of the 12 weeks. Paid parental leave does not extend the 12-week period.
  • You may use paid and unpaid time to cover your leave of absence  

Birth mothers

  • You may use sick leave the first six weeks after a vaginal delivery or eight weeks after a C-section
  • You may also use vacation, PTO and other paid leave. Other paid leave includes vacation/PTO donations, holiday, banked special leave without pay, and comp time. 
  • You may file a short-term disability claim if you have the county's coverage. Short-term disability covers the first six weeks after a vaginal delivery or eight weeks after a C-section. Before receiving short-term disability payments you must use up any other paid leave over 80 hours. Policy sheet for short-term disability (PDF)

Birth fathers, spouses, domestic partners, adoptive and foster parents

  • You may use sick leave the first six weeks after a birth
  • You may also use vacation, PTO and other paid leave. Other paid leave includes vacation/PTO donations, holiday, banked special leave without pay, and comp time.
  • You can't get short-term disability payments

Your rights and responsibilities under federal law 

Your rights and responsibilities under the Family and Medical Leave Act (PDF)

Paid time off for childbirth and adoption

  • Paid time off for parents (paid parental leave) provides additional income for childbirth or adoptive parents (not available for foster care)
  • You may request three weeks (up to 120 hours) paid parental leave
  • Amount of paid parental leave is based on your standard hours times three. For example, 40 standard weekly hours would equal 120 hours paid parental leave. Your standard hours are listed in APEX
  • Birth mothers must use paid parental leave hours within 12 weeks of birth
  • Birth fathers, spouses and adoptive parents must use paid parental leave within one year of a birth or adoption
  • Your job is protected if you take paid parental leave as one block of time. If you take it in intervals, contact hr.lam.office@hennepin.us
  • Request paid parental leave

Planning your income for your leave of absence

  • Parental leave is a complex process. The HR leave and accommodation management office helps you understand your income options.
  • A personalized scenario shows how your paid and unpaid time work together
  • The scenario covers an entire 12-week leave of absence
  • Request a personalized scenario

Vacation-PTO donation program

  • You must run out all your paid leave before you can receive donations. But you can still receive donations while also receiving short-term disability payments.
  • (Birth mothers only): You can use donations within six weeks after a vaginal delivery or eight weeks for a C-section. The six or eight weeks is considered the medical part of your leave.
  • Vacation-PTO donation program

Special leave without pay  

  • Available to employees who earn benefits
  • With your supervisor's approval, you may take up to 160 hours per payroll year. A payroll year is a 12-month period which starts in late December. 
  • You can use these hours even if you still have vacation, sick time, or PTO
  • You earn vacation, sick time, and PTO as if you had worked
  • County contributions to your insurance premiums are unaffected
  • If your paycheck doesn’t cover your premiums, they come out of your next available paycheck
  • PERA (employee retirement fund) contributions are not made but you can make them up at the end of the year. Call PERA at 651-296-7460. If you choose to make up your payments, the county will make its contributions.
  • Seniority and retention pay are unaffected
  • You can work and bank these hours. This allows you to get paid for those hours later.
  • Special leave without pay hours reset to 160 every payroll year 

Continuing your benefits while on your leave of absence 

The way you pay for your benefits varies

  • If you get a paycheck during your leave of absence, premiums come out of your check
  • If your paycheck doesn’t cover the premiums, they come out of your next available paycheck
  • You may request personal leave of absence beyond your 12-week leave. Your supervisor must approve this. In this case, you can cover benefits at your own expense. This means no county contribution.

Questions

Contact the HR leave and accommodation management office at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us,
or 612-348-4082.

Short-term disability payments (birth mothers only)

Signing up for short-term disability coverage

To receive short-term disability payments, you must sign up for the county's short-term disability coverage. Read more about the county's short-term disability insurance

To see if you already have short-term disability coverage, check your benefits summary in APEX.  

Steps to take before you can receive payments

  • You must file a claim and have it approved. Short-term disability claim instructions (PDF) 
  • You must record your last day of paid time in APEX
  • You have a waiting period (a number of days you choose from when you signed up)
  • If you have sick leave, you must use up your sick leave 
  • Other paid leave can total no more than 80 hours (vacation, PTO, holiday, comp time, and banked special leave without pay). You must use up any hours over 80 before you can receive short-term disability payments. Some sheriff's office union contracts may not allow you to save 80 hours.

Receiving payments

Short-term disability payments come from The Standard insurance company, not the county.

Impact on taxes for receiving short-term disability

You must claim short-term disability payments on your taxes.

Questions

Contact the HR leave and accommodation management office at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us, or 612-348-4082.

Before the birth, adoption or foster care placement

Discuss your leave of absence with your supervisor

  • How you will prepare for your leave of absence and when it will start
  • How you’d like your timesheet coded
  • Your plan to return to work

Request a leave of absence at least 30 days in advance

  • Request your leave at least 30 days before a due date or child placement date
  • Use an estimated date if you’re unsure what start date to use
  • Follow your department policies and procedures

Sheriff's employees

Contact Kathleen Smith at kathleen.smith@hennepin.us

All other employees

  1. Complete the leave of absence request form (use Internet Explorer). This will alert your supervisor of your leave request.
  2. You must be on the county network. If you can’t access the network, contact your supervisor to complete the request for you.

Plan for your income during your leave of absence

  • Consider how you want to use your sick leave, vacation, PTO, comp time, holiday and banked special leave without pay
  • Check your leave balances
  • Plan for how to use paid parental leave. Birth mothers must use paid parental leave within the 12-week leave of absence. Birth fathers, spouses, and adoptive parents must use it within one year of the birth or adoption.
  • Birth mothers filing for short-term disability payments: before getting payments, you’ll have a waiting period of 7, 14, 30, or 45 days (whichever you chose when you signed up for short-term disability). You can cover the waiting period with other paid leave such as vacation, sick time, or PTO.
  • If you want to use special leave without pay, discuss it with your supervisor
  • See how your paid and unpaid time work together, with a personalized scenario request form

Printable checklist

Checklist for before and after the birth (PDF)

Consider the Healthy Mom and Baby program

Pregnant employees who have county health insurance can take part. Learn more about PreferredOne's Healthy Mom and Baby program.

Cancel or suspend your MetroPass or parking contract

  • Cancel or suspend MetroPass
  • To cancel or suspend your parking contract, check with your parking provider 

Questions

Contact the HR leave and accommodation management office at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us,
or 612-348-4082.

After the birth, adoption or foster care placement

Notify your supervisor

Notify your supervisor of your child's birth or placement date.

Add your child to your insurance (if applicable)

Within 30 days of the birth, complete the family status change form (PDF)

Before you file for short-term disability (birth mothers only)

  • Record your last day of paid time in APEX, including any regular hours or other paid leave. You must be on the county network. If you can't access the network, contact your supervisor to record your time for you.
  • Make sure your total paid leave balance is no higher than 80 hours

Once you've recorded your last day of paid time in APEX (birth mothers only)

Request paid parental leave

  • Birth mothers receiving short-term disability payments: you can only start receiving paid parental leave after your short-term disability payments end

  • Paid parental leave covers birth and adoption only. It does not cover foster care. 
  • Once approved, paid parental leave hours show up in APEX in about one week
  • You’ll get an email letting you know when the hours are available. In the meantime consider covering the gap with other paid leave.
  • Paid parental leave hours show up as awarded time 
  • Paid parental leave request form

Code your timesheet while on leave

  • If you don’t have network access your supervisor will code your timesheet for you

Printable checklist

Checklist for before and after the birth (PDF)

Additional programs to consider

Breast pump discount

  • Employees with county health insurance can get up to $200 off an electric breast pump
  • For more information contact PreferredOne at 763-847-4477

Support for child care 

New Horizon Academy offers accredited childcare and daycare services for children up to five years old.

New Horizon offers a discount to county employees. Proof of employment is required.

Pre-tax child care savings 

Questions

Contact the HR leave and accommodation management office at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us, or 612-348-4082.

Returning to work

Your return-to-work date

Discuss your return-to-work date with your supervisor. 

Resuming your benefits

  • You may see an impact on your paycheck or an impact on how your benefits start again. This depends on how you took your leave.
  • Contact HR for more information at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us

Nursing mothers rooms in county buildings

Nursing mothers can use the county's nursing mothers’ rooms.   

Questions

Contact the HR leave and accommodation management office at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us, or 612-348-4082.

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