Update Applicable to:
Certain employers with employees performing work in the states mentioned below.
This is a reminder regarding school activities leave laws.
What are the details?
With the start of the fall season and schools reopening, working parents may need time off to attend school-related events or meetings involving their children. Some states, including California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Vermont, as well as Washington, D.C., have laws requiring employers to offer time off for these activities. The specifics of these laws vary, with most allowing unpaid leave, though some permit the use of paid time off. Activities covered can include disciplinary meetings, volunteering, parent-teacher conferences, and special education meetings for children with IEPs.
For example, Illinois provides eight hours of unpaid leave per school year for eligible employees to attend non-reschedulable school-related events. In California, eligible employees can get 40 hours of unpaid leave per school year for such activities. Some states may require advance notice and may let employers request documentation to verify the need for leave. The definition of “parent” varies by state.
Employers must decide whether to follow state-specific or uniform companywide approaches when implementing these leave policies, considering factors like administrative complexity and cost. Employers with operations in multiple states should stay informed about changes in school-related activity leave laws.
It’s important to note that there is no federal law providing general entitlement to time off for school-related activities, but the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows parents to take intermittent leave for Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings for children with serious health conditions.
Clear communication is crucial. Employers should have written policies outlining the benefit details, eligibility criteria, and leave request procedure. Compliance with record-keeping requirements, including tracking employee hours, leave accrual, usage, and balances, is essential.
For more information, please see the links below:
Massachusetts Small Necessities Leave
Code: Chapter 149: Section 52D – Small Necessities Leave
Sample Employee Certification (page 5) An Act Providing Employees Leave for Certain Family Obligations
Nevada Parental Involvement
Code: NRS 392.4577 Parental involvement
New Jersey Earned Sick Leave
Code: 34:11D-3 Permitted usage of earned sick leave
Earned Sick Leave Page: Link
New Mexico Healthy Workplaces Act
Code: Article 17 50-17
North Carolina Leave for Parental Involvement in Schools
Code: § 95-28.3. Leave for parent involvement in schools
NC DOL: Parental Leave
Rhode Island School Involvement Leave
Code: § 28-48-12 School involvement leave
RI DLT: Notice to Employees- Rhode Island Parental and Family & Medical Leave Act
Vermont Short-Term Family Leave to Participate in Preschool or School Activities
Code: 21 V.S.A. § 472a. Short-term family leave
VT DOL Poster: Parental Leave, Family Leave, and Short-Term Family Leave
What do employers need to do?
Employers with employees in the above states should review the specific laws in each state or jurisdiction to ensure compliance with school-related leave requirements.