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Besides complying with the federal FMLA, North Carolina employers must abide by the state’s leave laws on school visitation and jury duty.

School visitation leave

Employees who are parents or guardians may take up to four hours per year of unpaid leave to attend or participate in their children’s school activities. An employee must provide at least 48 hours’ notice of the need for leave, and the employer may require written verification that he or she actually attended the school activity.

Employers may not discriminate or retaliate against employees for exercising their rights under the school visitation law.

Jury and witness leave

In North Carolina it’s illegal for employers to punish employees who are summoned for jury duty or as witnesses in court.

While you needn’t pay employees during jury duty, you can’t force them to use their annual, vacation or sick leave during the time off.

Employers are entitled to prior notice, although the law is silent on how early an employee must inform you of receiving a jury summons. So, it’s a good idea to include jury duty as well as witness leave in your company handbook to clarify when and how employees should give notice.

Caution: Employers that punish workers for serving on a jury may end up in court themselves. Violators can be held in criminal contempt of court. And, don’t even think about punishing an employee who takes witness leave: That’s a criminal misdemeanor, which could mean jail time.


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