Do I have to give employees time off to attend school related activities for their children?

It will depend on the state your business is in, but the answer may be -- yes.  Often lost in the conversation regarding paid and unpaid time off laws and policies is whether employees have a right to take off work to attend school related activities for their children.  While there is no federal law to provide any uniformity on this topic, several states have passed laws over the years which give employees rights to time off for a variety of reasons, including to attend school related activities.

The following is a sampling of some of the state laws that give employees entitlement to time off for school related activities:

California: Employees may take up to 40 hours each year (maximum of 8 hours per month) as unpaid time off to: find and enroll child in school or child care, to participate in school or day care activities, or to address a child care provider or school emergency.  Only employers with 25+ employees are covered.

Minnesota: Employees may take up to 16 hours per year as unpaid time off to attend school conferences or school-related activities related to the employee's child, or to attend pre-kindergarten regular or special education programs that cannot be scheduled outside the workday.  All private employers are covered in Minnesota by this law.

Illinois: Employees may take up to 8 hours per year (up to 4 hours per day) to attend conferences or classroom activities, if the same cannot be scheduled during non-work hours.  Only employers with 50+ employees are covered.

Massachusetts: Employees may take up to 24 hours of unpaid leave during any 12-month period; may be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule to participate in school related activities for child. Employees must provide at least 7 days advance notice if leave of absence is foreseeable. Only covers employers with 50+ employees.

 
 
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