Q. Many of our employees have children who will return to school this month. Are we required to grant these employees time off for school-related activities?
A. Under California Labor Code Section 230.8, employees who are parents, guardians or grandparents with custody of children in kindergarten or grades 1-12, or attending a licensed day-care facility, may take off up to 40 hours each year (not to exceed eight hours in any one month) to participate in their children’s school activities.
Employers with at least 25 workers at the same location cannot take adverse action against an employee who takes time off for school activities.
Employees must provide their employers with reasonable notice of a planned absence. Additionally, they must use existing vacation, personal leave or compensatory time off for any school-related absences. Alternatively, an employee may use time off without pay. If the employer asks, an employee who takes time off for school purposes must provide proof of participation from the school or day-care facility.
An employee who has been fired, demoted, suspended or threatened with a discharge because he or she has taken time off to participate in school activities is entitled to reinstatement, reimbursement or both for lost wages and .
An employer that refuses to rehire, promote or otherwise restore an employee or former employee “who has been determined to be eligible for rehiring or promotion by a grievance procedure, arbitration or hearing authorized by law” may be required to pay three times the amount of the employee’s lost wages and work benefits.
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