NJ Family School Partnership Act: Parents May Be Given Leave To Attend School Activities

September 2, 2015
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The first few weeks of the new school year can be stressful for children and their parents with all the school activities going on, as everyone adjusts to new schedules and routines.

In New Jersey, lawmakers are currently considering legislation, the New Jersey Family-School Partnership Act, that would require many employers to allow their workers to attend school activities for their children, such as the first day of the school, parent-teacher conferences or other school activities.

New Jersey Family-School Partnership Act

The New Jersey Family-School Partnership Act is currently pending before the Senate Labor Committee. It would require any employer of 25 or more employees working at a single location to permit any employee who is a parent, grandparent, or guardian of a child attending a school or childcare facility to take off up to 40 hours each year, not exceeding eight hours in any calendar month, to participate in  school activities of the child’s school or childcare facility. Employees would be required to provide reasonable notice of the planned absence and any requested documentation of the participation. The proposed bill also requires workers to use available paid vacation, personal leave, or compensatory time during the time off. However, employee may utilize the time off provided under the law whether or not paid time is available.

Employer violation

Under the New Jersey employment legislation, employer retaliation against an employee for requesting or taking time off provided by the statute is prohibited. The bill permits an employee subjected to any violation of the bill to institute a civil action in the Superior Court. In addition to remedies available in common law tort actions, the court may order any or all of the following relief:
  • Compensation for lost wages, benefits and other remuneration caused by the violation, and, if the violation is willful, a civil penalty of three times the amount of the lost remuneration;
  • Reinstatement to the same, or an equivalent, position with full fringe benefits and seniority rights;
  • An injunction against any continued violation; and
  • Reasonable costs and attorney’s fees.
It is unclear if the New Jersey Family-School Partnership Act will gain traction. We will be following its progress through the Senate and will post updates as they become available.