School Activities Leave

Applies to: Faculty (including part-time and visiting faculty), postdoctoral scholars, staff and students (including graduate/undergraduate student workers and graduate assistants) employed by University of Southern California and its subsidiaries (“USC employees”).  


Issued: March 4, 2016
Last Revised: July 25, 2023
Last Reviewed: July 25, 2023

2. Policy Purpose

USC is committed to providing time-off for employees to participate in their children’s school activities in kindergarten through grade twelve (12), in licensed daycare facilities, and in activities conducted by a licensed childcare provider.

For the purpose of this policy, USC is making the leaves portion of this policy applicable to all employees, regardless of whether an employee lives or works in the State of California. If an employee resides in a state that provides a more generous leave, then the more generous state leave applies.

USC expects all employees, supervisors, Deans of Faculty, Department Chairs, and HR Partners to act in good faith when requesting and approving leaves of absence and time-off under this policy. In the event USC becomes aware that actions taken do not align with the policy, corrective and disciplinary steps may be pursued.

3. Scope and Application

All faculty and staff, exempt and non-exempt, at all USC locations, are eligible if they are parents (whether biological parent, adoptive parent, foster parent, stepparent or legal guardian), grandparents, or a person who stands in loco-parentis (in the place of a parent) to a child.

In the event of a discrepancy between this policy and an employee’s collective bargaining agreement, the terms of the collective bargaining agreement will govern.

4. Definitions

Definitions below are applicable for the purposes of this policy.

Parents Biological parent, adoptive parent, foster parent, stepparent or legal guardian, grandparents, or a person who stands in loco-parentis (in the place of a parent) to a child.

5. Policy Details

Length of Leave and Pay Continuance

Employees may use up to forty (40) hours of unpaid time-off per year (not to exceed eight (8) hours in a month):

  • To find, enroll or re-enroll employees’ children in school or with licensed childcare providers,
  • To participate in activities and attend meetings at their children’s school, or
  • To address childcare provider or school emergencies, due to one of the following reasons:
    • o The childcare provider or school has requested that the child be picked up or it has an attendance policy (excluding planned holidays) that prohibits the child from attending or requires the child be picked up from the childcare provider or school,
    • o Behavioral or discipline problems,
    • o Closure or unexpected unavailability of the school or child care provider, excluding planned holidays, or
    • o Natural disaster, including but not limited to, fire, earthquake or flood

The eight (8) hour limitation per month does not apply to leave for childcare provider or school emergencies. Except when leave is taken to address emergencies, the employee is expected to give reasonable notice of a planned school activities absence to their supervisor, Dean, or Department Chair.

Employees may utilize accrued paid vacation or PTO time during this leave, if available.

Leave taken under this policy will not be treated as a break in continuous service for purposes of seniority and salary adjustments.

During leave under this policy, USC will maintain eligibility for parents and their family members who participate in USC’s group health, welfare, and retirement plans on the same terms as if the employees had continued to work as long as employees pay their portion of premiums. USC will continue to pay the employer portion of premiums.

Employees do not accrue paid time off while on leave under this policy.

Non-Retaliation or Discrimination Notice

USC will not take any adverse employment action, retaliate, or discriminate against any eligible employee for requesting or taking leave as permitted under this policy. Employees who believe that they have been discriminated against or retaliated against for exercising leave rights under this leave policy should contact the Office of Equity, Equal Opportunity and Title IX by phone at (213) 821-8298 or email at

6. Procedures

 School Activities Leave procedures

7. Forms


8. Responsibilities

HR Service CenterSupport the employee, supervisors and Deans or Department Chairs with questions and application of the policy
Human Resources Partner (“HRP”) or Leave Administration Specialist (“LAS”)Ensures the employee has the appropriate forms, and information for understanding and utilizing their school activities leaveManages requests for school activities leave, including reviewing the employee’s leave requests, collecting required forms, if applicable, and placing the employee on leave, pursuant to this policyManages the use of accrued Vacation Time or PTO Time, if applicable, during approved school activities leavesManages the return-to-work process
Leave Administration DepartmentRevises the policy based on changes in State and Federal legislationManages escalations received from HRP and LAS.

9. Related Information

Employee Records Policy

Faculty Handbook

Vacation Time – Staff Policy

10. Contacts

Please direct any questions regarding this policy to:

HR Service Center(213)
Leave Administration Specialist (“LAS”)(213)
Leave Administration(213)