Senate Bill 1326

Senate Bill sb1326

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 1326

    By Senator Campbell





    32-706-04

  1                      A bill to be entitled

  2         An act relating to school visitation rights;

  3         providing a short title; providing legislative

  4         findings and intent; defining terms; requiring

  5         employers to grant leave for a school

  6         conference or activity to parents and guardians

  7         under specified conditions; providing for

  8         employees to make up the leave time taken,

  9         under specified conditions; requiring the

10         Commissioner of Education to give notice of

11         this act to schools; requiring schools to give

12         notice to parents; requiring the Agency for

13         Workforce Innovation to give notice to

14         employers; requiring employees who take such

15         leave to obtain documentation from the school

16         and to submit the documentation to the

17         employer; providing for consequences of a

18         failure to submit such documentation;

19         preserving certain employee rights; providing

20         penalties for violations by employers;

21         providing limitations on the granting of such

22         leave; providing an effective date.

23  

24  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

25  

26         Section 1.  School visitation rights.--

27         (1)  SHORT TITLE.--This section may be cited as the

28  "School Visitation Rights Act."

29         (2)  LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND INTENT.--The Legislature

30  finds that the basis of a strong economy is an educational

31  system that relies upon parental involvement. The Legislature

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 1326
    32-706-04




 1  intends that this section provide to employed parents and

 2  guardians who are unable to meet with educators because of a

 3  work conflict the right to have time during the school year

 4  for attending necessary educational or behavioral conferences

 5  at their respective children's schools.

 6         (3)  DEFINITIONS.--As used in this section, the term:

 7         (a)  "Child" means a biological, adopted, or foster

 8  child; a stepchild; or a legal ward of an employee, which

 9  child is enrolled in a primary or secondary public or private

10  school in this state or a state that shares a common boundary

11  with this state.

12         (b)  "Employee" means a person who performs services

13  for hire for an employer for:

14         1.  At least 6 consecutive months immediately preceding

15  a request for leave under this section; and

16         2.  An average number of hours per week which is equal

17  to at least one-half the full-time-equivalent position in the

18  employer's job classification, as defined by the employer's

19  personnel policies or practices or in accordance with a

20  collective bargaining agreement, during those 6 months.

21  

22  The term "employee" excludes an independent contractor.

23         (c)  "Employer" includes an agency, officer, or

24  department of the state; a unit of local government; a school

25  district; an individual; a corporation; a partnership; an

26  association; or a nonprofit organization, any of which employs

27  50 or more individuals in this state.

28         (d)  "School" means any public or private primary or

29  secondary school or educational facility located in this state

30  or a state that shares a common boundary with this state.

31  

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 1326
    32-706-04




 1         (e)  "School administrator" means the principal or a

 2  similar administrator who is responsible for the operations of

 3  the school.

 4         (4)  LEAVE FOR A SCHOOL CONFERENCE OR ACTIVITY.--

 5         (a)  An employer must grant an employee up to a total

 6  of 8 hours of leave time during any school year, no more than

 7  4 hours of which may be taken on any given day, to attend

 8  school conferences or classroom activities related to the

 9  employee's child if the conferences or classroom activities

10  cannot be scheduled during nonwork hours; however, an employee

11  of an employer that is subject to this act may not take such

12  leave until the employee has exhausted all accrued vacation

13  leave, personal leave, compensatory leave, and any other leave

14  that has been granted to the employee except sick leave and

15  disability leave. Before arranging attendance at the

16  conference or activity, the employee must provide the employer

17  with a written request for leave at least 7 days before the

18  time the employee intends to use the leave. In an emergency,

19  no more than 24 hours' notice is required. The employee must

20  consult with the employer to schedule the leave so as not to

21  disrupt unduly the operations of the employer.

22         (b)  This act does not require that the leave granted

23  under this section be paid leave.

24         (c)  For regularly scheduled, nonemergency visitations,

25  a school must make time available during regular school hours

26  and evening hours.

27         (5)  COMPENSATION.--An employee who exercises or seeks

28  to exercise the rights afforded under this section may choose

29  to make up the leave time taken under this act on a different

30  day or shift as directed by the employer. An employee who

31  exercises his rights under this section may not be required to

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 1326
    32-706-04




 1  make up the leave time taken, but if the employee does not

 2  make up the leave time taken, the employee may not be

 3  compensated for the time. An employee who does make up the

 4  leave time taken must be paid at the same rate of pay which he

 5  or she receives for normal working time. The employer shall

 6  make a good-faith effort to permit the employee to make up the

 7  leave time taken under this section. If a reasonable

 8  opportunity for the employee to make up the leave time does

 9  not exist, the employee may not be paid for the leave taken. A

10  reasonable opportunity to make up the time taken does not

11  include the scheduling of make-up time in a manner that would

12  require the payment of overtime wages. Notwithstanding any

13  other provision of this section, if unpaid leave taken under

14  this section conflicts with the unreduced compensation

15  requirement for exempt employees under the federal Fair Labor

16  Standards Act, an employer may require an employee to make up

17  the leave time within the same pay period in which the leave

18  was taken.

19         (6)  NOTIFICATION.--The Commissioner of Education shall

20  provide notice of this section to each public and private

21  primary and secondary school. Each public and private primary

22  and secondary school shall notify the parents or guardians of

23  the school's students of their school visitation rights. The

24  Agency for Workforce Innovation shall provide notice of this

25  section to employers.

26         (7)  VERIFICATION.--Upon completion of school

27  visitation rights by a parent or guardian, the school

28  administrator shall provide the parent or guardian with

29  documentation of the school visitation. The parent or guardian

30  must submit such verification to the employer. The

31  Commissioner of Education and the director of Workforce

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 1326
    32-706-04




 1  Innovation must provide a standard form for documenting school

 2  visitation to schools for use as required by this section. The

 3  standard form for documentation must include, but need not be

 4  limited to, the exact time and date the visitation occurred

 5  and ended. The failure of a parent or guardian to submit the

 6  documentation form completed by the school to his or her

 7  employer within 2 working days after the school visitation

 8  occurs subjects the employee to the standard disciplinary

 9  procedures imposed by the employer for unexcused absences from

10  work.

11         (8)  EMPLOYEE RIGHTS.--An employee may not lose any

12  employee benefits, except as provided in subsection (5), for

13  exercising his or her rights under this section. This section

14  does not affect an employer's obligation to comply with any

15  collective bargaining agreement or employee benefit plan. This

16  section does not prevent an employer from providing school

17  visitation rights in excess of the requirements of this

18  section. The rights provided under this section may not be

19  diminished by any collective bargaining act or by any employee

20  benefit plan.

21         (9)  VIOLATION.--An employer who violates this section

22  commits a noncriminal violation and may be fined by the Agency

23  for Workforce Innovation in an amount not exceeding $100 for

24  each offense.

25         (10)  LIMITS ON LEAVE.--An employer that is subject to

26  this section need not grant school visitation leave to an

27  employee if granting the leave would result in more than 5

28  percent of the employer's work force or 5 percent of an

29  employer's work force shift taking leave time for a school

30  conference or activity at the same time.

31         Section 2.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2004.

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    Florida Senate - 2004                                  SB 1326
    32-706-04




 1            *****************************************

 2                          SENATE SUMMARY

 3    Creates the "School Visitation Rights Act." Provides
      legislative findings and intent. Defines terms. Requires
 4    employers to grant leave time for a school conference or
      activity to parents and guardians under specified
 5    conditions. Provides for employees to make up the leave
      time taken, under specified conditions. Requires the
 6    Commissioner of Education to give notice of this act to
      schools. Requires schools to give notice to parents.
 7    Requires the Agency for Workforce Innovation to give
      notice to employers. Requires employees who take such
 8    leave to obtain documentation from the school and to
      submit the documentation to the employer. Provides for
 9    consequences of a failure to submit such documentation.
      Preserves certain employee rights. Provides penalties for
10    violations by employers. Provides that an employer need
      not grant such leave under specified circumstances.
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