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What kind of time off must we grant for employees to attend school-related activities?

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Q. With the new school year under way, can you ­give me a rundown on the rules governing our obligation to grant workers time off to participate in their children’s 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 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.

The law prohibits employers of at least 25 workers at the same location from taking any adverse action against an employee who takes time off to participate in a protected activity.

Two years ago, the statute was expanded to also in­­clude workers with children attending a licensed day care facility.

Under the statute, the employee must provide reasonable notice of a planned absence. The employee must use existing vacation, personal leave or compensatory time off for any school-related absences. Alternatively, em­­ployees may use time off without pay (if the employer allows time off without pay). Upon the employer’s re­­­­quest, an em­­ployee who takes time off for school purposes must provide proof of participation from the school or day care facility.

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