Yes, Please! Working Parents May Get Paid Time Off to Attend School Activities

A new bill in California aims to give parents paid time off to attend their kids' school-related activities.
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It seems like at least once a week, a flyer comes home from my fourth-grader's teacher announcing a party or a performance or a recital or a field trip that will take place in school, during daytime hours. I work from home and my schedule has a little bit of flexibility built in to it, but even for me it's difficult to carve out time to make it to the classroom for all these events. And for my husband, a doctor whose time off is often scheduled up to a year in advance, it's next to impossible.

Now California lawmakers want to give parents paid time off to attend school-related activities. The way it works now, employees in the state can take up to five days leave for school activities each year without losing their jobs. But here's the catch—they don't get paid for it.

The new bill would require businesses with more than 25 employees to give parents three paid days off a year, so they can play a more active role in their children's school life without sacrificing income.

"Studies show that this greatly improves your child's educational chances in life," said state assemblyman Mike Gatto, who introduced the legislation. "And it's really critical that we give parents this opportunity to do it without forcing them to make the tough decision between paying the bills and being involved."

Preach!

The bill was introduced this week, but it still has to go through the committee process before the state senate has a chance to vote on it. Gatto admits that he is expecting opposition from businesses that say they can't afford to give their employees those three days off, but he says the legislation is an important step towards engaging families in the educational process and the school community.

"Being involved in your child's education shouldn't be limited by your family's income, and it shouldn't come down to a choice between meeting with a teacher or volunteering in the classroom, versus paying the bills," he said. "You shouldn't have to be a cast member of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to be involved in your child's education."

See you on the playground, Vanderpump!

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and a mom. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and follow her on Twitter at @holleewoodworld.

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