By Dutton                                              H.B. No. 856
         77R2078 PB-D                           
                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 1-1                                   AN ACT
 1-2     relating to the right of an employee to time off from work to
 1-3     participate in certain school activities of the employee's child;
 1-4     providing a penalty.
 1-6           SECTION 1.  Subtitle D, Title 2, Labor Code, is amended by
 1-7     adding Chapter 83 to read as follows:
 1-9                        IN CERTAIN SCHOOL ACTIVITIES
1-10           Sec. 83.001.  DEFINITIONS.  In this chapter:
1-11                 (1)  "Employee" means a person other than an
1-12     independent contractor who, for compensation, performs services for
1-13     an employer under a written or oral contract of hire, whether
1-14     express or implied.
1-15                 (2)  "Employer" means a person who employs 10 or more
1-16     employees at the same workplace. The term includes a public
1-17     employer.
1-18           Sec. 83.002.  APPLICATION.  (a)  This chapter applies to an
1-19     employee who is a parent, legal guardian, or custodial grandparent
1-20     of a child who is in prekindergarten through grade 12.
1-21           (b)  For purposes of this chapter, "employee's child" means a
1-22     child in the custody of an employee to whom this chapter applies.
1-24     ACTIVITIES.  (a) An employee who is subject to this chapter is
 2-1     entitled to time off as provided by this section to:
 2-2                 (1)  meet with a teacher of the employee's child; or
 2-3                 (2)  participate in a school activity of the employee's
 2-4     child.
 2-5           (b)  An employee is entitled under this section to up to two
 2-6     hours in each semester.
 2-7           (c)  Before taking time off under this section, an employee
 2-8     must provide the employer with reasonable advance written notice of
 2-9     the planned absence of the employee.
2-10           Sec. 83.004.  USE OF LEAVE TIME.  (a)  An employee is not
2-11     required to use existing vacation leave time, personal leave time,
2-12     or compensatory leave time for the purpose of a planned absence
2-13     authorized by this chapter except as otherwise provided by a
2-14     collective bargaining agreement entered into before September 1,
2-15     2001.
2-16           (b)  The use of leave time under this section may not be
2-17     restricted by a term or condition adopted under a collective
2-18     bargaining agreement that is entered on or after September 1, 2001.
2-19           Sec. 83.005.  EFFECT ON EMPLOYEE PAY.  An employer may not
2-20     reduce the pay otherwise owed to the employee for any pay period
2-21     because the employee took time off during that pay period for the
2-22     purpose of a planned absence authorized by this chapter.
2-23           Sec. 83.006.  DOCUMENTATION.  (a)  An employee shall provide
2-24     documentation to the employer of the employee's participation in a
2-25     particular school activity on the employer's request.
2-26           (b)  For purposes of this section, "documentation" means any
2-27     verification of parental participation in a school activity that
 3-1     the child's school considers reasonable and appropriate.
 3-2           Sec. 83.007.  SAME EMPLOYER.  If both parents of a child are
 3-3     employed by the same employer at the same workplace, the
 3-4     entitlement granted under Section 83.003 may be exercised as
 3-5     regards a specific school activity of that child only by the
 3-6     employee who first gives notice to the employer as required under
 3-7     Section 83.003(c).  The other parent is entitled to time off to
 3-8     attend the school activity only as approved by the employer.
 3-9           Sec. 83.008.  EMPLOYER RETALIATION PROHIBITED.  (a)  An
3-10     employer may not suspend or terminate the employment of, or
3-11     otherwise discriminate against, an employee who takes a planned
3-12     absence authorized by this chapter to participate in a school
3-13     activity of the employee's child if the employee has given written
3-14     notice as required under Section 83.003(c).
3-15           (b)  An employee whose employment is suspended or terminated 
3-16     in violation of this chapter is entitled to:
3-17                 (1)  reinstatement to the employee's former position or
3-18     a position that is comparable in terms of compensation, benefits,
3-19     and other conditions of employment;
3-20                 (2)  compensation for wages lost during the period of
3-21     suspension or termination; and
3-22                 (3)  reinstatement of any fringe benefits and seniority
3-23     rights lost because of the suspension or termination.
3-24           Sec. 83.009.  CIVIL PENALTY.  (a)  An employer who suspends
3-25     or terminates the employment of an employee in violation of this
3-26     chapter is liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000.
3-27           (b)  The attorney general or an appropriate prosecuting
 4-1     attorney may sue to collect a civil penalty under this section.
 4-2           (c)  A civil penalty collected under this section shall be
 4-3     deposited in the state treasury to the credit of the general
 4-4     revenue fund.
 4-5           Sec. 83.010.  NOTICE TO EMPLOYEES.  (a)  Each employer shall
 4-6     inform its employees of their rights under this chapter by posting
 4-7     a conspicuous sign in a prominent location in the employer's
 4-8     workplace.
 4-9           (b)  The Texas Workforce Commission by rule shall prescribe
4-10     the design and content of the sign required by this section.
4-11           SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2001, and
4-12     applies only to a suspension, termination, or other adverse
4-13     employment action that is taken by an employer against an employee
4-14     because of an employee absence authorized under Chapter 83, Labor
4-15     Code, as added by this Act, that occurs on or after that date.  A
4-16     suspension, termination, or other adverse employment action that is
4-17     taken by an employer against an employee before that date is
4-18     governed by the law in effect on the date that the employment
4-19     action is taken, and the former law is continued in effect for that
4-20     purpose.