My administrative assistant just came to me and said she had to leave for the day because she got a call from her son’s school saying that her son was being suspended. We have fewer than 25 employees, so I know that I don’t have to give her time off to attend school activities, but in this case, do I have to let her leave, or can I require her to stay at work? If I do let her go, do I have to pay her for the entire day’s work?
California has two types of leaves of absence related to employees’ children’s school:
• School activities leave applies only to employers with 25 or more employees.
• School appearance leave applies to all employers, regardless of size.
The school appearance leave requirement appears in California Labor Code Section 230.7. Under this provision, an employer cannot in any way discriminate against an employee who takes time off to appear at school in conjunction with a child’s or ward’s suspension from a class or school.
As a result, you cannot stop your employee from leaving work to go to her child’s school, nor could you take disciplinary action against the employee for taking the time off.
The law does not require you to pay the employee for the time away from work, so on the day that the employee leaves early to go to her son’s school, you need to pay her only for the actual time she spent in the office working.
For more information about the many family-related leaves of absence available in California, see the HR Library at HRCalifornia.com.
The Labor Law Helpline is a service to California Chamber of Commerce preferred and executive members. For expert explanations of labor laws and Cal/OSHA regulations, not legal counsel for specific situations, call (800) 348-2262 or submit your question at www.hrcalifornia.com.