Parenting leave: To whom must notice be given, and can we require use of vacation leave?

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

Q. I have a couple of questions about the parenting leave. We have 33 employees, so we are not subject to the FMLA. Can we require an employee to give ad­­vance notice of the need for leave to HR instead of the employee’s supervisor? Also, can we require em­­ployees to substitute paid vacation days while on leave?

A. Employers in Minnesota that have at least 21 employees are required to provide up to six weeks of leave in connection with the birth or adoption of a child.

Regarding your first question, yes, you can require the employee to notify HR. The statute provides that the employer can adopt reasonable policies governing the timing of requests for leave. Although I am not familiar with any cases addressing this issue, it seems safe to assume that policies that model the FMLA’s notice requirements would be deemed reasonable. 

Regarding your second question, the answer is no. Under the state law, leave that qualifies for parenting leave can be unpaid if that is what the employee chooses.

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