You, like many California workers, may be aware that you can take paid family leave to care for a newborn or seriously ill family member. However, what you may not be aware of is the fact that you can use paid leave to attend your child’s school functions, volunteer in your child’s school or simply visit your child’s school.
Unfortunately, a lot of working parents are unable to participate wholly in their children’s school lives because of work. They often miss school functions, class performances, parent-teacher conferences, awards ceremonies and other major events because said functions coincide with their work schedules. If you are a parent who routinely sends a grandparent or parent proxy to school events for fear of missing out on pay or being reprimanded, know that your sacrifices may be unnecessary. According to the California Senate Office of Research, California law entitles working parents to paid time off to visit or volunteer in their children’s schools. Learn more about to whom this protection applies.
How to qualify for PTO for school functions
To be able to use your paid time off to visit or volunteer at your child’s school, California law mandates that you work for an employer that employs 25 or more persons. You must have custody of the child and possess the legal definition of a parent, grandparent or guardian. To take advantage of this law, you must first attempt to use your personal leave, vacation or compensatory time for school purposes. You must also give your employer reasonable notice about the event in question. If your employer provides unpaid time off, you must use those hours first.
When your employer denies your right to use PTO for school events
If your employer denies your request to use paid-time-off for a child’s school function or event, or if he or she discriminates against you for using it, you may have a discrimination case. To fully exert your rights, though, you must contact the California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, within six months of the occurrence of the violation. You may also bring a private civil action against your employer.
Filing a discrimination case against a California employer is tricky, but it may be necessary to protect your rights.