California Workplace Leave Rights to Participate in School Activities

California Labor Code Section 230.8 entitles employees to take up to 40 hours off work each year for their children's school activities.

Employees may take leave to:

  • participate in activities of the school or licensed child care provider of a child;
  • find, enroll, or re-enroll a child in a school or with a licensed child care provider; or
  • address a "child care provider or school emergency."

Only 8 of the 40 hours may be used to find, enroll, or re-enroll a child.

Emergency Situations

A "child care provider or school emergency" means that an employee's child is unable to remain in a school or with a child care provider because:

  • the school or child care provider has requested that he or she be picked up;
  • the child is exhibiting discipline or behavioral problems;
  • there is a school closure or unexpected unavailability of a child care provider, or
  • there is a natural disaster.

Qualifying for Leave

To qualify for school activities leave, a person must be a "parent" and:

  • work for an employer with 25 or more employees working at the same location;
  • have a child of the age to attend kindergarten or grades 1 to 12; or
  • is a licensed child care provider.

A "parent" under the law includes a:

  • parent
  • legal guardian
  • stepparent
  • foster parent
  • grandparent, or
  • person standing in loco parentis to the child.

Notice Requirements

Parents are required to give notice to their employer if they intend to take leave.

Employers are allowed to ask for proof that the employee took time off for school activity-related purposes.

No Discrimination or Retaliation

An employer is not allowed to:

Below, our California employment and labor lawyers discuss the following frequently asked questions about California workplace leave laws for school activities:

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1. What is school activities leave?

School activities leave is time granted to California parents who work so that they can take time off to participate in certain school-related activities with their children. Parents may:

  • participate in activities of the school or licensed child care provider of a child;
  • find, enroll, or re-enroll a child in a school or with a licensed child care provider; or
  • address a "child care provider or school emergency." 1

2. Am I allowed to take this kind of leave?

An employee is eligible to take school activities leave if:

  • he or she works for an employer who employs 25 employees or more in that location;
  • the parent has a child who attends kindergarten or grades 1 through 12 or is with a licensed child care provider; and
  • the employee meets the definition of a parent. 2

2.1 Who is included in the definition of a "parent?"

Under the law, a parent is not only the actual "Mom" or "Dad" of the child. The law includes the following as well:

  • parent,
  • legal guardian,
  • stepparent,
  • foster parent,
  • grandparent, or
  • person standing in loco parentis to the child. 3

2.2 What if both parents work for the same employer?

If both parents work for the same employer, only one parent is allowed to take leave at any given time. The parent who files first for leave is given priority.

Employers may allow both parents to take leave, but that is up to the employer. 4

3. Do I have to provide notice?

A parent is required to provide notice of the intent to take time off from work. How much notice is needed is not described, but it is best to provide as much notice as possible to your employer.

Employers may:

  • ask for proof that
  • the employee utilized the time for
  • child related-activities permitted under the law. 5

4. Am I entitled to pay during leave?

For purposes of leave, employees are required to use existing:

An employee is also allowed to utilize any time off without pay as provided by the employer. 6

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Call us for help...

For questions about school activities leave or to confidentially discuss your case with one of our skilled California employment attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us at the Shouse Law Group.

We have local law offices in and around Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, San Jose, Oakland, the San Francisco Bay area, and several nearby cities.


Legal References

  1. Cal. Employment Code § 230.8(a)(1)(A)-(B).
  2. Cal. Employment Code § 230.8(a).
  3. Cal. Employment Code § 230.8(e)(1).
  4. Cal. Employment Code § 230.8(a)(1)(B)(2).
  5. Cal. Employment Code § 230.8(c).
  6. Cal. Employment Code § 230.8(b).

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