Employee PTO, vacation, sick time and holidays

Employees who earn benefits get time off with pay.

Union and nonunion employees have different options for their paid time off.

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Union employees

How you earn time off with pay

You earn time off with pay based on the hours you work each pay period.

Choosing a type of time off

  • Union employees who earn benefits automatically get vacation and sick leave (two sets of hours) and most union employees can switch to paid time off (PTO) (one set of hours)
  • Whether and when you can switch to PTO depends on your union and the date you started earning benefits
  • To switch to PTO make your selection in APEX. You cannot go back to vacation and sick leave once you switch to PTO.

Unions that must stay with vacation and sick leave and can't switch to PTO

  • Sheriff’s supervisors
  • Sheriff’s licensed deputies
  • Minnesota Public Employees Association (MNPEA) detention deputy / telecommunicator
  • Teamsters correctional unit

North Central States Regional Counsel of Carpenters don’t get any leave time through the county.

Vacation and sick leave schedule

Years of service Vacation / sick leave per year
0 to 6 months 8 days (4 vacation / 4 sick)
6 months to 5 years 24 days (12 vacation / 12 sick)
5 to 8 years 27 days (15 vacation / 12 sick)
8 to 12 years 30 days (18 vacation / 12 sick)
12 to 18 years 32 days (20 vacation / 12 sick)
Over 18 years 35 days (23 vacation / 12 sick)

PTO schedule 1

Employees in these unions with these benefit start dates have until the end of your second pay period to switch to PTO

  • AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) / On or after December 21, 2009
  • Hennepin County Supervisors Association / On or after December 21, 2009
  • IUOE (International Union of Operating Engineers Public Works) / On or after January 1, 2012
  • Social Work Unit Supervisors / On or after May 3, 2010
  • Teamsters general services / On or after January 26, 2010

PTO schedule 1

Years of service PTO per year
0 to 6 months 10 days
6 months to 5 years 20 days
5 to 8 years 23 days
8 to 12 years 26 days
12 to 18 years 28 days
Over 18 years 31 days

PTO schedule 2

Employees in these unions with these benefit start dates can switch to PTO at any time without a deadline

  • AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) / Before December 21, 2009
  • Hennepin County Supervisors Association / Before December 21, 2009
  • IUOE (International Union of Operating Engineers Public Works) / On or after January 3, 2010 and before January 1, 2012
  • Social Work Unit Supervisors / Before May 3, 2010
  • Teamsters general services / Before January 26, 2010

PTO schedule 2

Years of service PTO per year
0 to 6 months 11 days
6 months to 5 years 22 days
5 to 8 years 25 days
8 to 12 years 28 days
12 to 18 years 30 days
Over 18 years 33 days

Switching from vacation and sick leave to PTO 

  • You can make the switch in APEX. When you make the switch in APEX, you must choose to use either your sick leave or PTO to pay for disability insurance.
  • You cannot go back to vacation and sick leave once you switch to PTO.
  • Your vacation hours become your PTO
  • You keep your sick leave and don’t add any more sick leave 
  • You can use either sick leave or PTO for illness, medical needs and trade time for fitness

Saving time off year to year

Sick leave and vacation

  • You can save vacation year to year up to 280 hours
  • You can save sick leave year to year with no limit. Once you hit 720 hours, additional sick leave is split with vacation.

PTO

You can save PTO year to year up to 480 hours.

Nonunion employees

If your benefits started after October 15, 2005

You have paid time off (PTO)

Years of service PTO per year
0 to 5 years 20 days
5 to 8 years 23 days
8 to 12 years 26 days
12 to 18 years 28 days
Over 18 years 31 days

PTO  

  • You earn PTO each pay period 

  • You can save PTO year to year up to 480 hours

  • Part time employees earn PTO based on number of hours worked
  • If you move to a union position that has two sets of hours called vacation and sick leave, you switch from PTO to vacation and sick leave 

If your benefits started before October 16, 2005

You have vacation and sick leave and can switch to PTO any time

Years of service Vacation / sick leave per year -OR - PTO per year
12 to 18 years 32 days total (20 vacation / 12 sick) 30 days
Over 18 years 35 days total (23 vacation / 12 sick) 33 days

Vacation and sick leave

  • You can save vacation year to year up to 280 hours
  • You can save sick leave year to year with no limit. But once you hit 720 hours of sick leave, additional sick leave is split with vacation.

Switching from vacation and sick leave to PTO 

  • You can make the switch in APEX. You cannot go back to vacation and sick leave once you switch to PTO.
  • Your vacation hours become your PTO 
  • You keep your sick leave and don’t add any more sick leave 
  • You can use either sick leave or PTO for illness, medical needs and trade time for fitness
  • To pay for disability insurance, you must choose to use either your sick leave or PTO

Time off donation program

You can donate vacation or PTO to other employees who need extra time off for things like an injury, serious illness or caring for a sick family member.

For example, an employee is injured and uses up all their paid time off to recover but still needs more time to heal. Other employees can donate some of their own vacation or PTO to the injured employee.  

To donate vacation or PTO

1. Login to APEX.

2. Click the "Timesheets and Leave Time" tile on the Employee Homepage.

Image of APEX Employee Homepage 

3. Open the "Vacation PTO Donation" folder and select "Donate Vacation/PTO".

Image of vacation-PTO donation form

4. Fill out the required fields.

Note: You can see forms previously submitted under "View Vacation/PTO Donations" link. You can recycle a form with the "Update Vacation/PTO Donation" link in the event the wrong donation amount is used.

 

To qualify for donations you must: 

  • Be out of work with either a serious illness or injury or be taking care of a family member or someone in your immediate household with a serious illness or injury  
  • Have either an approved leave of absence or your supervisor's approval to miss work
  • First use up your own paid leave
  • Complete the donation consent form

Converting vacation or PTO to cash

Hennepin County allows employees to convert up to 40 hours of vacation or PTO to cash. This choice must be made during open enrollment for the following year.

Important information

  • Starting in 2019, vacation or PTO hours being cashed out must be earned during that payroll calendar year. This differs from previous years, when employees could cash out vacation or paid time off they had earned and accumulated over multiple years.
  • Starting in 2019, cash out payments will be made in August. This reflects when full-time employees who accrue time off at the lowest rate can reach 40 hours of vacation or PTO. Changes to schedules may affect hours accrued.
  • For cash out to take place, you must have enough hours accrued that year to cover the conversion at the time of cash out plus enough hours left to pay for any disability insurance. No partial payments are made.
  • District court employees with county benefits are not eligible for the cash out.

To convert time off to cash

  • Make the selection in APEX during open enrollment.
  • You cannot reverse the choice once it is finalized during open enrollment.

Taking the cash directly

  • You can get a direct payment in a single paycheck in August of the year following your open enrollment choice.
  • Payment is available to employees on unpaid leave or layoff who don't get a regular paycheck and chose to convert their time off to cash, accrue enough hours in the 2019 payroll calendar year prior to payment, and have enough balances.
  • Cashing out vacation or PTO is not factored into determining your five highest earning years for Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) purposes.

Paycheck deductions taken out

  • All state and federal taxes
  • The 1 percent Supplemental Retirement Plan contributions and Minneapolis Employee Retirement Fund (MERF) contributions (if applicable)

Paycheck deductions not taken out

  • Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) contributions

Putting the cash into a retirement fund

  • Instead of taking the cash directly, you can put it into your county-sponsored optional retirement plan called deferred compensation.  
  • In order to deposit your cash out into your deferred compensation account, you will need to change your account election in APEX before the PTO cash out payment is made. In the 2019 payroll year, dates to make this change are July 21-August 2.
  • After you receive the cash out payment, you may return to your prior election. In the 2019 payroll year, dates to make this change are August 8 – August 16.
  • You’ll likely see less net pay in the affected paycheck because of taxes.

If you put the cash into deferred compensation pre-tax

  • Social Security (FICA) and Medicare taxes are taken out but other federal and state taxes are not taken out.

  • The 1 percent Supplemental Retirement Plan contributions are taken out (if applicable)

If you put the cash into a deferred compensation account after tax (Roth)

  • All state and federal taxes are taken out.

  • The 1 percent Supplemental Retirement Plan contributions and Minneapolis Employee Retirement Fund (MERF) contributions are taken out, if applicable.
  • Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) contributions are not taken out. 
  • The hours you convert to cash do not count toward your five years of highest earnings for PERA.

How to estimate accruals by payout date

  • Take your current bi-weekly net accrual x 15 (the number of pay periods before the payout)

    • This assumes you accrue the same amount each pay period

    • You do not accrue on hours recorded as UPN (unpaid) in APEX

    • You do not continue to accrue hours once you reach your balance cap.

Time off for HealthWorks and HR activities

Attend on county time with supervisor's approval

  • HealthWorks sponsored flu shot / other screenings 
  • HealthWorks / HR benefit fairs
  • HealthWorks sponsored blood drives
  • HealthWorks sponsored classes (up to one hour per month)
  • HealthWorks health coach appointments (up to one hour per month)
  • Open enrollment employee meetings
  • Pre-retirement planning seminars (sponsored by HR and scheduled via APEX)
  • Short, “stop in” time with Human Resources staff (e.g., pick up form or ask a quick question)
  • Scheduled appointments with Human Resources staff, including the Employee Career Center 
  • County-sponsored training sessions 
  • Time off for testing (including time for job interviewing) to obtain other county employment
  • Diversity events (up to one hour per month)

Attend on employee’s own time

  • Lunch, breaks, vacation; and sick leave, PTO, and/or balancing hours with supervisory
    approval.
  • Be Well Clinic visits (equivalent to any other medical appointment)
  • Deferred compensation plan appointments
  • Exercise classes
  • Onsite massage
  • Hennepin 5k
  • Financial planning / financial protection classes
  • Appointments with PERA retirement counselors
  • PERA pre-retirement seminars (sponsored by and scheduled with PERA)
  • Weight Watchers’ sessions
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