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Illinois School Conference and Activity Leave

Posted by Tamara

Illinois has a law that requires employers to give a parent or guardian time off to attend classroom activities and parent-teacher conferences, but it is much less generous than similar laws in other states, such as California and Colorado. Illinois allows only 8 hours of leave per school year, while states such as California permit up to 40 hours per school year.

The Illinois School Conference and Activity Leave law requires an employer to give up to 8 hours of unpaid leave during any school year, but no more than 4 hours per day. The leave is permitted only if the conference cannot be scheduled outside of working hours, and only if the employee has exhausted all vacation, PTO, personal leave, comp time and any other paid time off (except sick leave and short term disability.)

In most cases, the employee is required to request the leave 7 days in advance, and cooperate with the employer in scheduling the leave at the most convenient time for the employer. However, in an emergency, the employer cannot require more than 24 hours notice that the employee will be absent for a school conference. Emergency meetings most often apply to disciplinary issues such as suspensions and expulsions.

The law also requires that schools will make regularly scheduled conferences and meetings available both during regular school hours, and in the evening.

The Illinois law applies only to employers with 50 or more workers within the state of Illinois, but that number counts part-time as well as full-time workers.

The Illinois statute specifically mandates that no employee shall lose any benefit for using the leave under this law. An Illinois employee cannot be terminated for taking school conference leave, as long as the employee complies with all the provision of the law, including advance notice of unpaid leave.

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