March 15, 2013 - Volume 33 Issue 11



By Howard E. Seufer Jr., Bowles Rice LLP

Question:  If a county board of education member is an employee of a private employer, does the board member have a right under West Virginia law to take leave from his or her private employment in order to perform the duties of a school board member?

Answer:  Under certain conditions, yes. 

West Virginia Code § 6-5-12 entitles a school board member to take a leave of absence from his or her private employment for the time necessary to perform the duties of a board member. 

However, this applies only if the board member’s employer employs more than five persons on a full-time basis.
In such cases, it is up to the employer whether the leave of absence is with pay or without pay.

The Code provision reads as follows:

6-5-12. Leave of absence for public officials for performing public duties.
Any persons elected to a part-time public office or appointed to a part-time elected public office shall be entitled to a leave of absence from his or her private employment except when such employment is with an employer employing five or fewer persons on a full-time basis on the days or portion of any day during which he or she is engaged in performing the duties of his or her public office. The leave of absence shall not result in any penalty being imposed upon the persons entitled to the leave of absence: Provided, That such leave of absence may be without pay by the private employer.