Employers Take Note: Back To School Means Parents May Exercise Rights Under Illinois School Leave Law To Attend School Conferences Or Activities

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As children across Illinois go back to school, employers should take note of a lesser-known Illinois employment law that gives parents the right to take time off to attend school conferences or classroom activities. The Illinois School Visitation Rights Act (the “Act”) gives employees the right to take up to 8 hours of leave per school year, including up to 4 hours in a single day, to attend school conferences or classroom activities that cannot be scheduled during non-work hours.  In order to be eligible for visitation leave, employees must have been employed at least 6 months and work at least part-time hours (i.e., employees who work an average of one-half the hours of the employer's full-time employees).  Employees must give at least 7 days written notice of the need for leave, unless the Act’s emergency exception applies.  The Act applies to all public and private employers with 50 or more employees.  Although the Act does not require the time off to be paid, employees may choose to make up the lost time on a different day or shift.  However, employers cannot require employees to make up the time if the employee does not choose to make up the time.