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Exploring your rights under the Parental Leave Act

Once the initial excitement of learning that you are having a baby starts to subside, you understandably become consumed by a million different thoughts and a million different questions. Indeed, you will start to think more and more about arranging the nursery, purchasing toys and clothes, scheduling doctor appointments, finding the right hospital and, of course, deciding on a name.

It’s unlikely that your thoughts will be entirely consumed by personal matters, however, as you will likely have a host of questions about your employment, particularly the leave to which you are entitled after the child is born.

The Parental Leave Act

Under Minnesota law, 12 weeks of unpaid leave are granted to employees following the birth or adoption of a child provided that they 1) work for a company that employs at least 21 workers, 2) have been employed by the company for at least 12 months, and 3) have worked half time for at least 12 months.

State law also dictates that while the unpaid leave must take place sometime within 12 months of the birth or adoption, it can commence whenever the employee wants. However, it’s important to note that employees must actually request the 12 weeks off and that employers are free to introduce otherwise reasonable policies dictating when these requests should be submitted. 

Furthermore, it’s should be noted that paid leave, meaning vacation time or sick days, can be counted toward parental leave. In other words, parental leave can be reduced such that the total amount of time away from work — paid leave plus parental leave — is no more than 12 weeks.

We will continue our examination of this important topic in future posts. In the meantime, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your rights and your options if you believe that you’ve been victimized by any type of workplace discrimination.

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