Paid parental leave

Paid parental leave gives employees up to three weeks (up to 120 hours) of paid leave time after the birth or adoption of their child.

It gives employees additional flexibility and time to bond with their new child, adjust to their new family situation, and balance their professional obligations.

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Paid parental leave is available to employees who accrue sick leave and vacation or PTO.

You must also be one of the following:

  • Biological mother or father
  • Adoptive parent
  • Same sex spouse
  • Domestic partner

If you don't meet these requirements, learn about your alternate options by contacting

Amount of hours and timesheet

Amount of hours granted

The amount of hours are calculated by multiplying your weekly standard hours in APEX by 3. For example:

  • A full-time employee with 40 standard hours per week will receive a total of 120 hours of paid parental leave (40 x 3 = 120)
  • A part-time employee with 20 standard hours per week will receive a total of 60 hours of paid parental leave (20 x 3 = 60)

The hours must be used within the 12 weeks of your approved leave of absence date or following your baby's birth or adoption. Any unused paid parental leave hours at the end of your 12-week period will be forfeited.

If you decide to use your paid parental leave hours intermittently throughout the 12 weeks, you must get your supervisor's approval.


Paid parental leave hours may only be used after the birth or adoption has occurred. Your manager will complete your timesheet during your leave. The hours will be coded as "awarded time."

Paid parental leave hours cannot be used retroactively. After your paid parental leave request is approved, you will receive an email to let you know that the awarded hours are available in APEX. This may take up to one pay period to be processed. Please consider using sick, vacation or PTO to cover that gap.

Request personalized scenarios for parental leave to see how your time off and the leave programs work together.

Coordinate with other leaves and income replacement

Paid parental leave can be used in conjunction with other existing leave programs.

Request for personalized leave scenarios that show how your time off and leave programs work together and to ensure you don't miss out on any benefits.

Leave programs

Family and Medical Leave

You must be employed by the county for at least 12 months and have worked 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to your leave. Read more about FMLA.

Parental leaves

If you don't qualify for FMLA, you are still eligible for a parental leave of absence up to 12 weeks due to childbirth or adoption. Learn more about parental leaves.

Medical leave of absence

You are eligible for up to 180 days of medical leave of absence. Medical leave due to childbirth or adoption is limited to 12 weeks following the event. Learn more about medical leave.

Income replacement

Vacation and PTO

You can use vacation and PTO any time during your leave.

Sick leave

If you accrue sick leave, it can only be used during the first six weeks following birth. You may want to use sick leave before using paid parental leave. Learn more about sick leave.

Short-term disability

If you are the employee giving birth and you have short-term disability insurance, you may use it for parental leave after exhausting all of your sick leave. Depending on your union contract, you may need to exhaust all other paid leave such as vacation and PTO or you may be able to keep up to 80 hours. Contact or check your union contract. Learn more about short-term disability.

Consider applying for paid parental leave after your short-term disability benefits have ended so you don't cut your disability benefits short. File your claim after recording your last day of paid time in APEX.

Check your benefits summary in APEX to find out if you're enrolled in short-term disability and which benefit waiting period you elected.

Special leave without pay

Although SLWOP is unpaid leave, your PTO or vacation and sick leave and other benefits continue to accrue as if you are working. Learn more about SLWOP.

Vacation-PTO donation program

Benefits from the vacation-PTO donation program can be used only when all your accrued paid leave time is exhausted such as sick, vacation, PTO, holidays, banked SLWOP, comp time, and paid parental leave.

If your disability is related to childbirth, you will normally be eligible to receive donations only through the six-week period following delivery unless your physician has documented your disability beyond this period. If you want to receive vacation-PTO donations, don’t apply for paid parental leave until after the six-week period following delivery. Learn more about the vacation-PTO donation program.

Questions you may have about paid parental leave

What happens to my benefits while I'm on leave?

If you receive a paycheck while on leave, your regular health, dental, vision, life insurance, and disability premiums will still be taken out. Paid leave time such as sick and vacation or PTO continues to accrue.

If you're not receiving a paycheck during your leave, or your pay does not cover the premiums, one of two things will happen:

  1. Your premiums will be caught up on your next check.
  2. If you'll be unpaid for more than two full pay periods and continue to be unpaid for the remainder of your leave, you'll be placed on an unpaid Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA). You can then continue your benefits through our third party administrator, 121 Benefits. Before receiving anything from 121 Benefits, you'll receive a letter from the LAM office.

If both parents are employees of Hennepin County, are both eligible for the paid parental leave benefit?

Yes. Each parent is eligible for up to three weeks of paid parental leave.

Is there a limit on the number of times that employees can use paid parental leave?

No, except that paid parental leave is limited to up to three weeks per birth or adoption.

Do I get 240 hours of paid parental leave if I have twins?

No. The amount of paid parental leave does not increase due to the birth or adoption of multiples.

Is paid parental leave available for foster care placement?

No, not at this time.

Can paid parental leave be used to care for parents or to care for children other than those who are newborn or newly adopted?


Can I use paid parental leave hours for the loss of my baby?

Yes, paid parental leave can be used for the loss of a baby after 20 weeks gestation.

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