SPRINGFIELD – It’s back-to-school time and before long the annual ritual of parent-teacher conferences will begin again. In Illinois, even a busy job should not prevent parents or guardians from attending important school meetings.
Since 1993, Illinois has had a law providing for unpaid leave for employees to attend school conferences or classroom activities of their children when such activities cannot be rescheduled during non-work hours. The School Visitation Rights Act stresses the importance of and promotes the involvement of parents in their children’s schooling.
“While many employers are supportive of providing time for this important task, the School Visitation Rights Act provides an important protection to ensure that a parent’s job is not an impediment to attending important school meetings,” said Michael Kleinik, director of the Illinois Department of Labor, which enforces the law.
More details about the law can found on IDOL’s Fact Sheet, including the following:
• The law applies only to employers with 50 or more workers in Illinois
• The employee needs to have worked at the job for at least six months and at least half-time.
• The time can only be taken if the employee has used all other accrued leave (for example, vacation and personal) time except for sick or disability leave.
• The employee must provide a written request seven days in advance – 24 hours in advance in an emergency.
• The employer can, but is not required, to pay for this leave time.
• The employee can be granted up to eight hours during the school year – no more than four hours on a given day.
A school visitation rights leave form is available on the Illinois Department of Labor’s website.