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Employee parental leave

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

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Time off for childbirth, adoption, and foster care

The county is excited to support your growing family and offers total rewards that allow you time to care for your newest additions. Benefit-earning employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave to recover from birth and/or bond with a new child.

  • Parents include the carrying (birth) and non-carrying parent, spouse, domestic partner, adoptive and foster parents
  • Your job is protected during your leave

Complete this form to apply for leave.

New in 2022! New parents are eligible for six weeks of paid parental leave (up from three weeks previously) for children born or adopted on or after January 2, 2022.

Planning your time away

Your leave may consist of paid or unpaid time away – or a combination of both.

Paid leave options

  • Short-term disability. Replaces 60% of your income for carrying (birth) parents who participate in the county’s coverage. See the short-term disability fact sheet (PDF) or short-term disability for more information.
  • Parental leave. Six weeks (up to 240 hours) for birth of a new child or adoption on or after January 2, 2022 (three weeks for births/adoptions prior to January 2, 2022). Total hours available is prorated based on your standard hours.
    • Carrying (birth) parents must use parental leave within first 12 weeks of birth but after their short-term disability benefits are complete.
    • Non-carrying parents, spouses, and adoptive parents have one year after the birth or adoption to use their parental leave (note: once you begin your parental leave, you must use the full balance within 12 weeks).
    • View the parental leave rules for additional details.
    • Request paid parental leave after the birth or adoption of your child, or after your short-term disability is approved if filling a claim.
  • Sick leave. Both carrying (birth) and non-carrying parents can use up to six weeks for a vaginal delivery or up to eight weeks for a C-section.
  • Vacation, PTO or other paid leave. Includes accrued vacation or PTO, vacation/PTO donations, holiday, banked special leave without pay, and comp time.
  • Vacation-PTO donations. Both carrying and non-carrying parents can request donated vacation or PTO to use during the first six weeks after a vaginal delivery or during the eight weeks after a C-section delivery.
    • You can receive donations while also receiving short-term disability payments.
    • You must run out all other paid leave before you can receive donations.
    • Learn about the vacation-PTO donation program.

Unpaid leave

If you have exhausted your paid leave options, you may take the remaining portion of your leave as unpaid by using special leave without pay or unpaid time.

You may request personal leave of absence beyond your 12-week leave, with supervisor approval.

Continuing your benefits while on leave

Your county benefits will continue while you are on leave, however the way you pay for your benefits varies:

  • If you get a paycheck during your leave of absence, premiums come out of your paycheck.
  • If your paycheck doesn’t cover the premiums, they come out of your next available paycheck.
  • If you're out for an extended period of unpaid time, you'll receive a letter from the HR leave and accommodation management office with information on continuing your benefits.
  • If you extend your time out of the office beyond 12 weeks by using additional personal leave, you are responsible for covering the cost of benefits at your own expense; the county will not make contributions.

More information

Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA). Read about your rights and responsibilities under federal law (PDF)

HR leave and accommodation office. FMLA and parental leave are complex processes. Contact the HR leave and accommodation management office at to learn more about your benefits income options.

Signing up for short-term disability coverage

To receive short-term disability payments for the birth of a child, you be enrolled in the county's short-term disability coverage at the time of birth. Read more about the county's short-term disability insurance, including information on extended waiting periods for late enrollment. 

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

Benefit period

Generally, the short-term disability benefit period for the birth of a child is six weeks for a vaginal delivery and eight weeks for a C-section. Note: if you have a C-section, your leave may be extended up to 14 weeks to accommodate your full disability claim plus six weeks of paid parental leave.  

Steps to take before you can receive payments

  • You must file a claim and have it approved. View the short-term disability claim instructions (PDF).
  • You must record your last day of paid time in APEX.
  • You will have a waiting period (a number of days you choose from when you signed up). You can use sick, vacation and PTO time during your waiting period.
  • 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.

Receiving payments

You will receive short-term disability payments from The Standard insurance company, not the county. You are responsible for claiming short-term disability payments on your taxes.


Contact the HR leave and accommodation management office at

Discuss your leave of absence with your supervisor

  • How you will prepare for your leave of absence and when it will start?
  • How would you like your timesheet coded?
  • What is 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

All other employees

Complete the leave of absence request form.

Plan for your income during your leave of absence

Review the Time Off section to understand your options for paid and unpaid time off, including short-term disability (if enrolled), sick leave, vacation, PTO, parental leave, and other leave options.  

Explore wellness resources

Cancel or suspend your MetroPass or parking contract

Use the printable checklist to help you prepare

View the county's checklist for before and after the birth (PDF).


Contact the HR leave and accommodation management office at

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 (parent that gives birth 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 (parent that gives birth only)

Request paid parental leave

  • Birth parents (carrying) 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.
  • Proof of birth or adoption is needed before your request can be approved.
  • 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.
  • View the 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

Browse the checklist for before and after the birth (PDF).

Lactation support information

View the county's webpage on lactation support.

Additional programs to consider

Support for child care

County employees receive a discount on childcare and daycare services for children up to five years old at New Horizon Academy. Proof of employment is required.

Pre-tax child care savings

You can set aside pre-tax dollars for eligible child care. Learn more about dependent care assistance.


Contact the HR leave and accommodation management office at

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


Contact the HR leave and accommodation management office at

We provide a supportive environment for pregnant employees who need accommodations to safely perform their job and to enable employees who are lactating to express their milk in privacy during work hours.

Designated lactation rooms

Private lactation rooms are available to county employees who need to express milk. View the room list (must have access to the county network).

Lactation pump discount

Employees with county health insurance can get up to $300 off an electric lactation pump. For more information, contact PreferredOne at 763-847-4477.

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