How does parental leave work in Minnesota?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2016 | Employee Rights |

Welcoming a new child into the family is one of the most joyous things a person can experience. It can also be a little scary.

If you want to take time off to care for your child, you might be worried about whether your job will still be there when you return. Here’s what you need to know about how family leave works in Minnesota.

Most parents can take 12 weeks off

Minnesota law allows new parents to take up to 12 weeks off work after the birth or adoption of a child. This leave is available to both mothers and fathers. To qualify, the parent must:

  • Work for a company that has 21 or more employees
  • Have worked at least half-time for 12 months
  • Have worked for the employer at least 12 months

This leave can be taken anytime within the first year after the child is born or adopted. Employees get to decide when their leave starts, but they do have to follow their employer’s rules for giving notice.

Your job and benefits are protected

Parents are entitled to return to their same job – or one with comparable compensation, hours and responsibility – after their leave is finished.

Additionally, if your employer provides health insurance, coverage must continue while you are on leave. However, employers can ask employees to pay their own premiums during this time.

Parental leave is unpaid, but PTO is available

Employers are not required to pay you during parental leave, though some do under their own internal policies. Check with your Human Resources department to see if pay is available.

If you are not getting paid while on leave, you can use your paid vacation or sick time. But, PTO and parental leave run concurrently, not consecutively – your total leave cannot be longer than 12 weeks.

Your employer cannot punish you for taking leave

Even though Minnesota law requires employers to follow these rules, some don’t. Others retaliate against employees for taking leave, for example by cutting their hours or denying an earned promotion.

This is never acceptable. If you are denied leave or treated unfavorably for taking it, it is always a good idea to talk to a lawyer. You may have legal remedies available.