Do I Have the Parental Right to Miss Work for School Events?

At one time or another, most parents have left work early to participate in some aspect of their child’s education.  It might be a parent-teacher conference, or attending a holiday musical performance that your child has been dutifully practicing for many weeks.  There may be a championship softball game or basketball game that is hours away, and that simply can’t be missed.   It seems obvious that parental involvement in school activities is very important to the educational process, and that it likewise strengthens the familial bond.

Many employers are flexible in permitting parents to miss a reasonable amount of work to participate in school events.  The reality, however, is that there are certain employers who are so interested in the bottom line that any request to miss work is seen as a negative, regardless of the reason.  The question that arises, then, is whether parents have any rights to miss work to participate in the educational activities of their child.

Not many people are aware of this, but Labor Code Section 230.8 provides that parents have a right to take up to 40 hours each year to participate in school activities.  However, there are some important limitations to this statute.  First, the law only applies to employers with 25 or more employees working at a single location.  Additionally, you can’t take the 40 hours in large chunks, but are rather limited to 8 hours in any calendar month.  Finally, it appears that you must have vacation, personal leave or PTO available to attend the school activity, unless your employer consents to allow you to take unpaid time off.  

If you have questions about your employment rights as a parent, and parental right to miss work for your child, the employment law attorneys at Carlin & Buchsbaum can help.