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Employee leave of absence

Employees may request a leave of absence for medical, family, civic duty and other reasons.

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To qualify for a leave of absence for your own illness

You must:

  • Have been employed by the county at least 12 months
  • Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months before your leave
  • Have family and medical leave hours available in the current payroll year
  • Need three or more days away from work, intermittent time away for medical reasons, or had an overnight stay in the hospital

Learn more about your rights and responsibilities under the Family and Medical Leave Act (PDF).

To request a leave of absence

Sheriff’s employees

Contact Kathleen Smith at kathleen.smith@hennepin.us.

All other employees

Complete the leave of absence request form.

Confidentiality and job protection

  • Your supervisor doesn’t need to know any of your medical facts.
  • You can receive confidential help throughout the process from the HR leave and accommodation management office.
  • You cannot be penalized for requesting or receiving a medical leave of absence.

How far in advance to request a leave of absence

  • Request a leave of absence as soon as you know you need time away from work or, if possible, at least 30 days beforehand.
  • Requesting a leave of absence does not guarantee it will be approved.

After you submit your request

  1. Your supervisor will get a notification and next steps. Your supervisor will send you a medical certification form. If your supervisor is unavailable to complete their portion of the medical certification form, email hr.lam.office@hennepin.us.
  2. Have your health care provider complete the medical certification form within 15 days. Then have them return the form to the HR leave and accommodation management office per the instructions on the form.
  3. Once the HR leave and accommodation management office receives the completed form, you’ll get an email within five business days. The email will tell you whether your leave of absence request is approved, denied or additional information is needed.

If your leave of absence is approved

Taking a leave of absence as needed

Review the comments on your notice received by the leave and accommodation management office and follow your department’s call-in procedure.

Taking a leave of absence in a block of time

  1. Meet with your supervisor to discuss how you’ll prepare for your leave, when it will start, how you’d like your timesheet coded, and your plan to return to work.
  2. If you need to make changes to your leave of absence request after it’s been approved, for example to change the dates, notify the HR leave and accommodation management office at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us.
  3. Consider suspending your parking contract or MetroPass.
  4. If you have short-term disability insurance, make sure you’ve recorded your last day of paid time (sick leave, vacation, PTO, holiday, or comp time) before you file your short-term disability claim.
  5. If you have long-term disability insurance but not short-term disability, once you’ve been out of work for six weeks, file your long-term disability claim.
  6. Learn about the employee vacation/PTO donation program.

If your leave of absence is denied

You'll get an email with an explanation.

Common reasons a leave is denied

  • Your health care provider did not return completed forms to the HR leave and accommodation management office.
  • Requested clarification on your completed forms was not received.
  • Your medical condition is not considered a serious health condition.

For questions email the HR leave and accommodation office at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us.

Continuing your benefits while on leave

Benefit-earning employees can continue their health insurance and other benefits while on leave.

The way you pay for your benefits while on leave depends on whether you receive a paycheck during your leave and how long your leave lasts:

  • If you receive a paycheck while on leave, paycheck deductions for your benefits will still be taken out.
  • If you go one pay period without a paycheck, or your pay doesn't cover the premiums, your deductions will be taken on 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.

Returning from a leave of absence

Return-to-work statement

  1. Check the bottom of the designation notice you received from the HR leave and accommodation management office to see if you must submit a return-to-work statement (fitness for duty certificate) from your health care provider to return to work.
  2. At least two business days before you return to work, either have your health care provider fax the return-to-work statement to the HR leave and accommodation management office at 612-466-9391 or you can email it directly to hr.lam.office@hennepin.us. If you don’t submit your statement at least two days ahead of time, it could delay the date you can return to work.
  3. If you are required to submit this statement, make sure it includes: your return-to-work date, restrictions if any, and end date for restrictions.
  4. The HR leave and accommodation management office will review the statement and contact you with any questions. We'll then notify your supervisor of your return to work date and any restrictions.
  5. Your supervisor will contact you regarding your return-to-work date.

Getting personalized help for your return to work

  • If you have disability coverage you can get personalized help from a case manager before or after your return to work. This can make your transition to work easier.
  • The program is voluntary, confidential and free.
  • Talk to the HR leave and accommodation management office by emailing hr.lam.office@hennepin.us for more information.

Short-term impact on your paycheck and benefits once you return to work

  • You may have missed paying all your premiums while on leave. If so, "catch up" premiums will come out of your next available paycheck.
  • You may also have a short-term impact on how your benefits start up again.
  • For questions email the HR leave and accommodation management office at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us.

Additional help before, during and after your leave

Questions about leave of absence for employee illness

Contact the Leave and accommodation management office by email at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us. Our fax number is 612-466-9391.

Confidentiality and job protection

  • Your supervisor doesn’t need to know your family member’s medical facts.
  • You can receive confidential help throughout the process from the HR leave and accommodation management office.
  • You cannot be penalized for requesting or receiving a leave of absence.

Taking a leave of absence to care for a family member

The county supports new parents with time off for birth, adoption or foster care.

For other family situations

  • You can request up to 12 weeks unpaid leave of absence to care for a family member.
  • You can use your own paid leave time (like sick leave, vacation or PTO) for income while on leave.
  • You can use your leave to care for a family member with a medical condition.
  • You can use your leave of absence to be with a family member preparing for active military duty overseas.
  • You can take a leave of absence for a military member who's a spouse, child, or parent.
  • Otherwise, family members can be a spouse, child, parent, an adult child who needs help with daily living activities, or someone who regularly lives with you.
  • You must have been employed by the county at least 12 months.
  • You must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months before leave.
  • You must have family and medical leave hours available in the current payroll year.
  • A leave request for a family member can be approved for up to six months. If time off is needed beyond the six months or for chronic conditions, a new leave request and medical certification form will need to be completed to recertify your leave.

Learn more about your rights and responsibilities under the Family and Medical Leave Act (PDF).

How far in advance to request a leave of absence

  • Request a leave of absence as soon as you know you need time off work, or at least 30 days beforehand.
  • Requesting a leave of absence does not guarantee it will be approved.

To request a leave of absence

Sheriff’s employees

Contact Kathleen Smith at kathleen.smith@hennepin.us.

All other employees

  1. Complete the leave of absence request form. 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.

After you submit your leave of absence request

  1. You’ll receive a medical certification form from your supervisor. If your supervisor is unavailable to complete their portion of the form, email hr.lam.office@hennepin.us.
  2. This form must be filled out by your family member’s health care provider and returned to the HR leave and accommodation management office. Documents must be in English or translated to English from a foreign language.
  3. Once the HR leave and accommodation management office receives the completed form, you’ll get an email within five business days. The email will tell you whether your leave of absence request is approved, denied or additional information is needed.

If your leave of absence is approved

  • Meet with your supervisor to discuss your leave of absence.
  • Review the comments on your notice received by the LAM office.
  • Follow your department’s call-in procedures.

If your leave of absence is denied

Common reasons a leave is denied

  • Your family member's health care provider did not return the completed forms to the HR leave and accommodation management office.
  • Requested clarification on the family member's completed forms was not received.
  • Your family member's medical condition is not considered a serious health condition.

For questions email the HR leave and accommodation office at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us.

Common reasons a leave is denied

  • Your health care provider did not return completed forms to the HR leave and accommodation management office.
  • Requested clarification on your completed forms was not received.
  • Your medical condition is not considered a serious health condition.

For questions email the HR leave and accommodation office at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us.

Short-term impact on your paycheck and benefits once you return to work

  • You may have missed paying all your premiums while on leave. If so, "catch up" premiums will come out of your next available paycheck.
  • You may also have a short-term impact on how your benefits start up again.
  • For questions email the HR leave and accommodation management office at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us.

Additional help before, during and after your leave

Questions about leave of absence to care for a family member

Contact the leave and accommodation management office by email at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us. Our fax number is 612-466-9391.

Time off for the death of someone close to you

When a loved one dies, you may need time off to grieve, make arrangements, settle family affairs, and/or attend a funeral or memorial service. Benefits-earning employees are eligible to take paid bereavement leave when approved by a supervisor for the loss of the following people: 

  • Spouse
  • Child, step-child, grandchild, daughter-in-law, or son-in-law
  • Parent, parent-in-law, step-parent, grandparent, or grandparent-in-law
  • Sister, brother, sister-in-law, or brother-in-law
  • Aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew
  • Someone you consider a member of your immediate family

You may take up to 48 hours of paid bereavement leave per payroll year (a 12-month period that starts in late December). As of January 2, 2022, you may take all 48 hours of paid leave at the same time; you're no longer limited to 24 hours per death. 

If you need time off for individuals not covered by bereavement leave, such as extended family or friends, or if you need time beyond the provided bereavement leave, you may use PTO/vacation with supervisor approval.

Resources

Find additional resources for grief and coping on the employee well-being resources SharePoint site (employee login required).

Questions about leave of absence for bereavement

Contact the HR service center by email at hr.servicecenter@hennepin.us or by phone at 612-348-7855.

Jury duty

You can serve on a jury and get your regular pay and benefits

  • Your paid time off lasts for as long as your jury duty.
  • The jury duty pay you receive from the court must be signed over to the county.
  • Turn your fees over to your HR APEX contact.
  • You can keep jury duty pay for jury duty time outside your normal work hours.
  • You can keep any travel reimbursement paid by the court (like parking or mileage).
  • Your supervisor manages this leave.

Returning to work after jury duty leave

Discuss your return with your supervisor.

Testifying in court

If you’re a witness in a case related to your job, you qualify for regular pay:

  • You must sign over your witness fees to the county.
  • You can receive travel reimbursement paid by the court.

If you’re a witness in a case not work related, you can either:

  • Use your paid time off or vacation
  • Take unpaid leave
  • Take special leave without pay
  • Your supervisor manages this leave. As soon as possible notify your supervisor of your subpoena or call to be a witness.

Voting

You can request time off to vote and record it as regular paid time:

  • This covers federal, state, and regularly scheduled local elections, including primaries and elections to fill vacancies.
  • Your supervisor approves this time off.

Election judge

You have two options for taking paid leave as an election judge:

  1. Take paid election judge leave. You either must volunteer as an election judge or turn over your election judge pay to the county. Election judge leave covers a maximum of 8 hours.
  2. Take vacation, PTO, unpaid time, or special leave without pay. You can keep your election judge pay.

In addition:

  • You must give at least 20 days written notice to your supervisor. Your supervisor can waive this.
  • Give your supervisor a letter from the elections office stating your hourly pay and hours you’ll serve.
  • You can keep any travel reimbursement you receive.

Questions about a leave of absence for jury duty, testifying in court, voting or election judge

Contact the HR service center by email at hr.servicecenter@hennepin.us or by phone at 612-348-7855.

Military leave

You may receive up to 15 days of paid military leave each year

  • This leave is available to all employees who are members of the military.
  • You don't have to earn benefits to take military leave.
  • If your service goes over 15 days, you can cover the time with vacation or PTO.
  • Your annual military physical is included in this paid leave if you show orders for the physical.
  • You may take a total of five years military leave and have the right to return to work.

When called to active duty

  1. Meet with your supervisor to:
    • Discuss your start and end dates of active duty.
    • Discuss how you want your timesheet codded during your leave (how much paid military leave (MILLP), how much vacation or PTO, etc.).
  2. Email a copy of your military orders to your supervisor and the HR leave and accommodation management office at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us.
  3. Complete and submit the designation of representative form (PDF).
  4. Arrange for a designee to get your benefits continuation material. The material will be mailed from 121 Benefits. It will be mailed to your address on file in APEX.

Active duty lasting more than one year

Contact your supervisor to request the 15 days of paid military leave.

Military pay differential

When discharged from active duty

Email your Form DD214 (release from active duty) to the HR leave and accommodation management office at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us.

Returning to work from active military duty

Less than 31 days

  • Once you're discharged and back home, contact your supervisor to discuss your return-to-work date.

30–180 days

  • Apply to return to work within 14 days.
  • Contact your supervisor in writing, by phone or e-mail.

Over 180 days

  • Apply to return to work within 90 days.
  • Contact your supervisor in writing, by phone or e-mail.

Vacation or PTO and PERA (employee retirement fund)

  • You can’t use vacation or PTO during your reentry since you’re still considered on active duty.
  • If you choose to make up your retirement benefits, call PERA at 651-296-7460.

Questions about leave of absence for military duty

Contact the leave and accommodation management office by email at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us. Our fax number is 612-466-9391.

Disaster volunteer

Disaster relief paid leave

  • You must be a certified disaster volunteer of the Red Cross or Salvation Army.
  • You must specifically be asked to volunteer for disaster relief, by the Red Cross or Salvation Army, to use this leave.
  • You may take up to 15 paid work days per payroll year. A payroll year is a 12-month period which starts in late December.
  • You earn 50% of your normal pay. You can cover the other half of your pay with vacation, PTO, comp time or holiday hours (if available).

Before your leave, give your supervisor:

Returning to work from disaster volunteer leave

Discuss your return with your supervisor.

Questions about leave of absence for disaster volunteer

Contact the HR service center by email at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us or by phone at 612-348-7855.

Special leave without pay

  • SLWOP is 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 leave 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.

Personal and education leave

  • You may use it for a personal or education plan not covered by other types of leave.
  • This is unpaid leave. You must first use all your vacation, PTO, holiday, or comp time.
  • Probationary employees may take up to two weeks of unpaid time off in any 12 months.
  • Regular employees may take up to 12 months of leave.
  • You can continue your benefits but you must cover the full premium (no county contribution). You’ll get a packet from 121 Benefits.
  • Your supervisor must approve this leave.

Returning from personal and education leave

Discuss your return with your supervisor.

School conference leave

You can use vacation, PTO, or unpaid time for this leave

  • Applies to school, pre-K, or child care conferences or activities
  • Applies to conferences and activities that are only scheduled during work hours
  • You can take up to 16 hours per year.
  • Talk with your supervisor about arranging the leave.

Questions about leave of absence for education or school conference, or special leave without pay

Contact the HR service center by email at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us or by phone at 612-348-7855.

Organ or bone marrow donation

You can request time off to donate an organ or bone marrow.

  • You must earn benefits to get this paid leave.
  • You can get up to 40 hours of paid leave for each donation.
  • To extend your leave, you can use sick leave, vacation or PTO.
  • You must get confirmation from a doctor for your leave.
  • If you later learn you don’t qualify as an organ donor, you don’t have to pay back the leave you took.

Sheriff's employees

Contact Kathleen Smith at kathleen.smith@hennepin.us

All other employees

  1. Complete the leave of absence request form. 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.

Returning from organ or bone marrow leave

You must submit a return-to-work statement to the leave and accommodation management office. The statement is a letter from your health care provider and includes: your return-to-work date, restrictions if any, and the end date for restrictions. Discuss your return with your supervisor.

Questions about leave of absence for organ donation

Contact the leave and accommodation management office by email at hr.lam.office@hennepin.us. Our fax number is 612-466-9391.

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