Employers in California with 25 employees or more in one location are subject to the Family School Partnership Act. Employees who are parents, guardians, or grandparents with custody of one or more children enrolled in a California public or private school kindergarten, in grades 1 through 12, or are in a licensed child care facility are entitled to take leave to take part in any activity sponsored, supervised, or approved by the school, the school board, or child care facility. Examples of such activities include, but aren’t limited to attending parent-teacher conferences, classroom volunteering, attending open houses, or participating in field trips. From January 1st, 2016, these provisions will extend to protect step-parents, foster parents, or an employee who stands in loco parentis to a child.
On January 1st, 2016, this leave law will also be expanded to allow employees to take job-protected time off to find, enroll, or re-enroll their children in a school or with a licensed child care provider. A new subsection has also been added to allow employees to take time off to address a school or child care provider emergency, due to one of the following reasons:
1. The school or child care provider has requested the child be picked up or it has an attendance policy (excluding planned holidays) that prohibits the child from attending or requires the child be picked up
2. Behavioral or discipline problems
3. Closure or unexpected unavailability of the school or child care provider, excluding planned holidays
4. A natural disaster, including but not limited to, fire, earthquake or flood.
Employees are entitled to take up to 40 hours of leave per year, but may not exceed 8 hours in any calendar month. Although employers must allow employees to take the leave, employees must use paid vacation, personal leave, or compensatory time off for the planned absence unless prohibited by a collective bargaining agreement. Leave without pay may also be used to the extent that it is available. The employee, not the employer chooses from these available alternatives.
Employees are required to provide reasonable notice to their employer of his/her absence according to Labor Code Section 230.8. Documentation is also required to be completed as proof that an employee participated in school or licensed child day care facility activities on a specific day and time. This documentation refers to the written parental participation that the school or day care facility deems appropriate and reasonable.
Employers must not interfere with employees right to take leave. Any employee who is discharged, demoted, suspended, or in any other manner discriminated against in terms and conditions of employment by their employer shall be entitled to be reinstated and reimbursed for lost wages and work benefits.
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