The following was included in TCTA's 2019-20 Survival Guide, the ultimate reference tool for Texas educators, and is current as of September 2019 but is subject to change. The information below is for information purposes only, and is not intended to substitute for advice from an attorney.

Every teacher is entitled to a duty-free lunch and planning and preparation time. Except for a few minor changes made in 1995, the statutes have essentially remained the same since enactment. 

Planning and preparation time

Texas Education Code, Sec. 21.404
The law entitles every teacher to planning and preparation time, during which the district cannot require the teacher to engage in any activity other than parent-teacher conferences, evaluating student work and planning.

Teachers must have at least 450 minutes of planning time every two weeks in increments of not less than 45 minutes within the instructional day.


A teacher could have five 90-minute conference periods within a two-week period, rather than a 45-minute conference period each day. A district can provide 50-minute blocks of planning time daily, exceeding the minimum requirement, but it could not provide 50 minutes one day and 40 minutes the next.

A district cannot schedule a 7:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. instructional day, and then give teachers 3:15 to 4 p.m. to plan after the students leave.

According to the commissioner of education, if a district gives teachers no more than the statutory minimum planning time, the district cannot ask teachers to engage in group planning during one of those planning periods.


A district that schedules 50-minute planning periods every day could ask teachers to plan as a group one day every two weeks, but the district could not take one planning period for group planning and another for staff development.

See also:

Duty-free lunch