Employee time off with pay

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

  • Most union employees who earn benefits automatically get vacation and sick leave (two sets of hours) and most of these 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>Timesheets and Leave Time>Leave Time Summary>PTO Selection. You cannot go back to vacation and sick leave once you switch to PTO.

Sheriff’s licensed deputies are the only union that must stay with vacation and sick leave and can't switch to PTO.

New hires as well as current employees with vacation/sick leave who transfer into the unions below are automatically enrolled in PTO schedule 1. Current employees in one of these unions before 7/7/19 can make a one-time change to PTO schedule 2 at any time. 

  • MNPEA Detention Deputy/Telecomm.
  • LELS Sheriff’s Supervisors

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)

Paid time off (PTO) schedule 1

Employees in these unions with these benefit start dates can switch to PTO at any time

  • 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
  • Teamsters Correctional Unit / On or after August 4, 2019

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

Paid time off (PTO) schedule 2

Employees in these unions with these benefit start dates can switch to PTO at any time

  • 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) / Before January 1, 2012
  • Social Work Unit Supervisors / Before May 3, 2010
  • Teamsters general services / Before January 26, 2010
  • MNPEA Detention Deputy/Telecomm. / Before July 7, 2019
  • LELS Sheriff’s Supervisors / Before July 7, 2019

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 paid time off (PTO)

  • You can make the switch in APEX>Timesheets and Leave Time>Leave Time Summary>PTO Selection.
  • 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 accruals 
  • 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, or lose it.
  • You can save sick leave year to year with no limit. Once you hit 720 hours, additional sick leave is split with vacation.

Paid time off (PTO)

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

Nonunion employees

If your benefits started on or after October 16, 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
  • Employees earn PTO based on number of hours worked

If your benefits started before October 16, 2005

You have vacation and sick leave and can switch to paid time off (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 paid time off (PTO)

  • You can make the switch in APEX>Timesheets and Leave Time>Leave Time Summary>PTO Selection.
  • 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

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 paid time off (PTO)

1. Login to APEX.

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

apex homescreen

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.

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. 

Before you can receive a cash out

  • You must earn cashed-out hours during the current payroll calendar year.
  • You must have enough whole hours saved to cover the cash out.
  • If you are at or hit your maximum vacation or PTO hours, you do not accrue hours within the calendar year and may not receive payment.
  • Partial payments are not made.

District court employees with county benefits

  • These employees 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 the first 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 2020 payroll calendar year prior to payment, and have enough balances.

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.
  • 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 2020 payroll year, dates to make this change are July 19–31.
  • After you receive the cash out payment, you may return to your prior election. In the 2020 payroll year, dates to make this change are August 6–14.
  • 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

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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