New law lets working parents take time for more school-related matters

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A new state law goes into effect on Jan. 1 that will allow working parents to take time off to deal with more school and child-care related matters for their children. 

Under the old law, a working parents could leave work for certain school-related activities, including parent-teacher conferences. Senate Bill 579 goes beyond that, adding circumstances under which employers with 25 or more employees must provide leave.

Starting in 2016, employees will be able to take leave of up to 40 hours per year, not to exceed 8 hours per month, to find their child a new school, enroll or re-enroll a child in school or with a licensed child care provider, says Kelly Scott, who heads the Employment Law Practice at Ervin, Cohen, and Jessup in Los Angeles.  

The new law also adds child care emergencies and school emergencies to the list of reasons a parent could take leave, including the sudden closure of schools. So if a school district decides to close schools as Los Angeles Unified did recently, parents who have to leave work to watch their children don’t have to fear getting fired. 

 "A horrible thing like that – and let’s hope it never happens again – this law would cover," Scott told KPCC. 

The law also expands the definition of “parent” to include step-parent, foster parent, grandparent or anyone who serves as a parent to the child. 

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