Understanding the California Family-School Partnership Act

With an ever-changing world, education becomes essential to one’s business. At DSI, we truly understand the value of knowledge and staying up to date on the various changes in the healthcare, insurance and human resources world. Consequently, we work with highly-esteemed and experienced labor law attorneys and HR consultants in order to keep our clients up to date with rules and regulations. For example, as the school year is now back in session, we wanted to serve all of our clients, especially those in the education sector about laws that will affect their organization and their employees. We believed it would be a great time to work with our labor law attorney, Karen Dinino, to learn more about the California Family-School Partnership Act.

As per Karen Dinino, Esq., “Just when you thought vacations are over, the kids are back at school, and work can begin, you may be faced with another reason for absences from work: school visits, teacher meetings, and day care center activities. California’s Family-School Partnership Act requires a work-school partnership, and California’s children benefit. Here’s how it works:

What employers are covered? Employers of 25 or more employees.

What employees are covered? Of employers with 25 or more employees, the act covers parents, grandparents, and guardians of children in grades K-12, or in licensed child day care facilities.

How much leave can be taken? Employers must permit up to 40 hours maximum per year, and up to 8 hours maximum per month, for employees to participate in a child’s school or day care facility activities.

What types of activities are covered? Any activity that is sponsored, supervised, or approved by the school, school board, or child care facility is covered. Examples might be volunteering in your child’s classroom; participating in parent-teacher conferences, Back-to-School Night, Open House, field trips, or extracurricular sporting events sponsored by the school, school board, or child care facility; and assisting in community service learning activities.

Is it paid time off? No. The time is unpaid unless the employee chooses to use accrued paid time off (such as vacation time).

Can the employer say “no”? NO. Employers must comply with the law and allow employees to take off up to 8 hours a month/40 hours a year to participate in a child’s school or child care activities. Employers cannot discriminate or retaliate against an employee for seeking or taking time off for this reason.
My employee works a night shift, so the law doesn’t apply, right? WRONG. Night shift employees could seek time off their shift so they can be rested and awake to participate in a school activity in the day time.

Must both parents be given time off from the same employer? If both parents of a child are employed by the same employer at the same work site, the employer may permit only one parent to attend an activity (the one who asks first). The employer also may permit both to attend.

Are school suspension meetings special? YES. All employers must provide unpaid time off for employees to address certain matters related to a child’s suspension from school. Although no specific amount of time off is specified in these statutes, Education Code section 48900.1 states that parental attendance for a “portion” of a school day may be required for any given suspension. This absence is in addition to the 40-hour maximum under the Family-School Partnership Act.
Make the grade! Be careful about denying any leave request relating to school or day care activities, or treating an employee less favorably because he or she took time off to attend a school activity. Consult with employment counsel if you have questions.”

In short, we understand being an employer or HR professional is a full-time job, as there is so much information you must know. At DSI, we constantly update and educate our clients on certain laws and acts that affect them such as the one described by Karen Dinino. We are an extension of your HR team to help you navigate through constant updates to labor laws and all your insurance needs.

Article by: Karen Dinino, Esq. with Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schreck LLP and President of EmployMentor, Inc. & Edwige Ligondé, Account Executive with Danone Simpson Insurance Services, LLC

Karen Dinino – with a BA in Psychology from UCLA and a Jr. Doctorate from USC Law, Karen was able to jumpstart her successful career in employment law. She is now the President of EmployMentor, Inc, which represents employers and employees in resolving employment disputes and handles litigation. She has also has been retained and testified as an expert witness and certified to train in sexual harassment, discrimination, disability discrimination, wage and hour, and wrongful termination cases. She is an expert in labor law matters and a very credible resource to any organization.

Edwige Ligondé – As a student-athlete Alumni of prestigious UCLA, Ed graduated with a BA in Economics & Sociology. He began his career four years ago in the insurance industry and is now a Cal-OSHA, CPR & First Aid certified Account Executive licensed in Life & Health as well as Property & Casualty. As an Account Executive with Danone Simpson Insurance Services LLC, he is a strong advocate for his clients and holds a high level of integrity. His whole-heartedness and warm personality makes working with Ed an undeniably enjoyable experience.

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