FILE - Students in class, classroom, teacher

School is back in session across Illinois and that means parent-teacher conferences are around the corner, so state officials are reminding parents about a state law that allows them to take unpaid time off work for school-related activities.

For some parents, getting time off from work can be difficult. But many employers are required to give employees time off for parent-teacher meetings. The School Visitation Rights Act of 1993 provides some parents unpaid leave from work to attend school conferences or classroom activities for their children.

Illinois Department of Labor Director Michael Michael Kleinik said by law some employees can take unpaid time off from work to attend parent-teacher conferences, but there are some limitations.

The law only applies to employers with 50 or more employees.

“The employee needs to have worked at the job for at least six months,” Kleinik said 

“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,” Kleinik said in a statement.

The Illinois Department of Labor enforces the law.

The law also states that unpaid time can only be taken if the employee has used all other leave time, such as vacation or personal time. There are exceptions for sick and disability leave.

Kleinik said adequate notice must be given to the employer.

“The employee should give a written request, at least seven days in advance,” he said.

In emergency situations, the employer should receive 24-hour advance notice.

The 1993 law grants workers p to eight hours off during the school year, with no more than four hours in one day.

Staff Reporter

A Chicago area radio news veteran, Jim Moran covers statewide issues for The Center Square. Previously, he has worked as a news reporter/anchor and traffic reporter for numerous radio stations across Illinois and the St. Louis metro area.