Back to School – Some States Require Employers to Provide Leave for School-Related Activities

Summer break has come to an end and school is back in session for the fall. There is no federal requirement for employers to allow their employees time off to participate in school related activities of their children, but some states have enacted their own legislation providing employees withback-to-school-1622789_1920 leave from work for reasons such as participating in parent-teacher conferences, classroom activities, or to address their child’s behavioral problems.

The states with current school-related leave requirements are listed below along with a brief summary of the requirements in each state.

California – Family School Partnership Act

  • Who’s covered?: Employers with 25 or more employees at the same location
  • How much leave must be provided?: Up to 40 hours per year for full time employees.  This amount is pro-rated for part time employees based on the number of hours they typically work.
  • What can leave be used for?: To enroll a child in school or child care, participate in school activities, or address an emergency or disciplinary issue
  • Is the leave paid?: No, but employees have the option to use any accrued paid time off.

District of Columbia – Parental Leave

  • Who’s covered?: All employers with employees in Washington DC
  • How much leave must be provided?: Up to 24 hours n a 12-month period
  • What can leave be used for?: To attend or participate in a school-related event for the employee’s child in which the child is a participant or a subject
  • Is the leave paid?: No, but employees have the option to use any accrued paid time off.
  • Who is considered a parent?: (1) the biological parents of a child; (2) a person who has legal custody of a child; (3) a person who acts as a guardian of a child regardless of whether he or she has been appointed legally; (4) an aunt, uncle or grandparent of a child; or (5) the spouse of any of the previously mentioned individuals.

Illinois – School Visitation Rights Act

  • Who’s covered?: Employers with 50 or more employees in Illinois
  • How much leave must be provided?: At least 8 hours per year but no more than 4 hours in one day.
  • What can leave be used for?: To visit a child’s school conference or classroom activity if the conference or activity cannot be scheduled outside of work hours.
  • Is the leave paid?: No. This leave can only be taken by employees after they have exhausted all other paid time off, excluding any sick time and/or disability leave.
  • What employees are eligible for this leave?: Employees working at least half time and employed with the company for at least 6 months prior to the start of the requested leave.

Massachusetts – Small Necessities Leave

  • Who’s covered?: Employers subject to the FMLA (at least 50 employees in a 75 mile radius)
  • How much leave must be provided?: A total of 24 hours during any 12 month period.
  • What can leave be used for?: To participate in school activities directly related to the educational advancement of the employee’s son or daughter, such as parent-teacher conferences and interviewing for a new school.
  • Is the leave paid? No.
  • What employees are eligible for this leave?: Similar to FMLA, employees must have been employed for at least 12 months and must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the preceding 12 months.

Minnesota – School Conference and Activities Leave

  • Who’s covered?: Employers with at least 1 employee.
  • How much leave must be provided?: Up to 16 hours of leave in a 12-month period.
  • What can leave be used for?: To attend school conferences and school-related activities related to the employee’s child (including a foster child) that cannot be scheduled during non-work hours.
  • Is the leave paid?: No, but employees can elect to use accrued paid time off.

Nevada – Parental Involvement

  • Who’s covered?: Employers with at least 50 employees.
  • How much leave must be provided?: Up to 4 hours of leave per school year (must be taken in increments of at least one hour).
  • What can leave be used for?: To attend parent-teacher conferences, school-related activities during regular school hours, or school sponsored events.
  • Is the leave paid?: No.

North Carolina – Leave for Parental Involvement in Schools

  • Who’s covered?: All employers.
  • How much leave must be provided?: At least 4 hours.
  • What can leave be used for?: To attend or otherwise be involved with the employee’s child’s school.
  • Is the leave paid?: No.

Rhode Island – School Involvement Leave

  • Who’s covered?: Employers with 50 or more employees.
  • How much leave must be provided?: Up to 10 hours in a 12 month period.
  • What can leave be used for?: To attend school conferences or other school-related activities for a child of whom the employee is the parent, foster parent or guardian.
  • Is the leave paid?: No, but employees can elect to use accrued paid time off for the leave.
  • When does an employee become eligible for leave?: After 12 consecutive months of employment with the same employer.

Vermont – Short-Term Family Leave to Participate in School Activities

  • Who’s covered?: Employers with 10 or more employees working at least 30 hours per week.
  • How much leave must be provided?: No more than 4 hours in a 30-day period (not to exceed 24 hours in a 12-month period).
  • What can leave be used for?: To participate in preschool or school activities directly related to the academic educational advancement of the employee’s child.

In addition to the states listed above, there are other states, such as Louisiana, Oregon and Tennessee that encourage employers to provide school-related leave to employees, but employers in these states have no legal obligation to provide this type of leave.

 

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