Back to School Time Off Tips
The coals from the Labor Day barbecues have cooled, the beach chairs have been returned to their sheds, the ice cream shops have scaled back their hours, and the white shoes have been set aside for the next nine months. Whatever the end of summer means to you, for millions of families, it signals the return to school for children in preschool through college.
This means your employees will likely need to take a few hours out of their workday occasionally to participate in their children’s education. Parents’ fall calendars are often packed with school events, parent-teacher conferences, and/or parent meetings – some of which will inevitably occur during their usual working hours – and any flexibility you give them to attend these events, or even volunteer in the classroom or chaperone a field trip, will be greatly appreciated.
Where it’s the law
Nine states and the District of Columbia have passed laws protecting parents’ rights to take small increments of time away from work to attend to school matters. They vary widely in their specifics regarding eligibility for leave, whether the time is paid or unpaid, and the amount of time available for use. (ThinkHR customers can get details about each state’s provisions by clicking the act titles listed below after logging into to your ThinkHR account.)
- California Family-School Partnership Act: Up to 40 hours each year, up to eight hours per month
- District of Columbia Parental Leave Act: Up to 24 hours of leave during a 12-month period
- Illinois School Visitation Rights Act: Up to eight hours during any school year, but not more than four hours in one day
- Louisiana School and Day Care Conference and Activities Leave Act: Up to 16 hours per year
- Massachusetts Small Necessities Leave Act: Up to 24 hours every 12 months
- Minnesota School Conference and Activities Leave: Up to 16 hours every 12 months
- Nevada Leave for School-Related Activities: Up to four hours per school year
- North Carolina Parental Leave: Up to four hours per year
- Rhode Island School Involvement Leave: Up to 10 hours during any 12-month period
- Vermont Short Term Family Leave: Up to 24 hours in 12 months, but not more than four hours in any 30-day period
Even if it’s not the law
It’s a best practice to offer flexibility to all employees so that they can meet the obligations of daily life while still performing at their peak at work. It goes a long way toward making an employee feel good about where they work when they can see their child perform in a school play, take their dog to the vet, or accept an appliance delivery without worrying about missing a couple hours of work or needing to take a full day off.
The beginning of fall is a great time to review your established time off policies to see how you can accommodate parents and guardians who need to meet school obligations as well as giving all employees the flexibility to attend to the other small necessities of life.
In many cases, your established policies may not need to change. Depending on the needs of your workplace, your state laws, and the employee’s position, this could mean allowing employees to make up a few hours of work, take an extended lunch period, shift their schedule to start earlier or later to still get a full day in, or use personal, vacation, or PTO time in small increments.
How can we help?
ThinkHR customers can get up-to-date information on state and federal leave regulations for just about every kind of leave designation (family and medical, jury duty, voting, military, etc.) on Comply. In addition, the Employee Handbook Builder includes compliant and customizable leave policies specific to each state and our Learn training catalog contains leadership and employment law courses to help your managers handle employee situations with added confidence.