When “Back to School” Means Time Off Work

August 14, 2018 10:24 pm

The summer has flown by, and many of your employees are sending their children back to school this month. Here is your “refresher course” in the leaves of absence provided by California law relating to school activities.

Labor Code section 230.7, which applies to all employers, provides an employee with unpaid time off to appear in his/her child’s school due to the child’s suspension. The employee is required to give reasonable notice of the need to visit the school.

Labor Code section 230.8, which applies to employers of 25 or more employees, provides up to 40 hours of unpaid time off per calendar year for a variety of reasons:

• to find, enroll, or re-enroll a child in a school or with a licensed child care provider;

• to participate in activities of the school or licensed child care provider; or

• to address a child care provider or school emergency.

Some important details to remember:

• School activities can include field trips, class parties and assemblies, volunteering in the child’s classroom, and extracurricular sports that are sponsored by the school (including after school hours.)

• If an employee’s child is cared for by a friend or family member who is not a licensed care provider, you are not required to approve time off.

• “Child care provider or school emergency” can mean anything from a natural disaster or disciplinary problems, to a care provider being unavailable or simply requesting that the child be picked up. If an employee is unable to drop his/her child off at daycare because the care provider is sick, it’s covered under this law.

• When possible, such as to enroll a child in school, the employee must give reasonable notice of the need for time off. In the event of an emergency, the employee need only give notice.

• Employees can be required to use accrued vacation/PTO for the absence.

• An employer may require documentation from the school or day care provider.

• You may limit the employee’s time off to eight hours in a calendar month.

Contact Sierra HR Partners if you’re unsure how to handle an employee’s request for time off.

We’re here to help!

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