Time Off for Parents

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A bill in the Colorado State Legislature could force companies to give their employees more time off. Some lawmakers hope the bill would encourage parents to be more involved in their kids’ academic life. Time off would be allowed for parents to attend their children’s academic activities, like parent-teacher conferences.

Jan Tanner has been active in the Parent Teacher Association, or PTA, for 12 years.

"There's a lot of things during the day that you don't see a lot of parents at," said Tanner.

She says the PTA supports the bill.

"It’s a great thing to encourage parents to be involved in the lives of their child at school," said Tanner.

The Senate version of the bill would require companies with at least 10 employees to give parents up to 30 hours off each year. That time would be unpaid. Employees in emergency response or medicine would be exempt.

The House version says companies shall come up with their own policy to allow parents time to be involved with their child's school.

"I think it’s a colossal invasion into the employee-employer relationship," said Republican Rep. Mike May of District 44.

Rep. May says this isn't the state's business. He says if it passes, it could ruin the state's reputation as business friendly.

"They've been able to work this out on their own without the state reaching in and setting up these mandates," said May.

But Mike Kazmierski with the Greater Colorado Springs Economic Development Corporation doesn't agree. He says because the time off would be unpaid, it wouldn't cost the company.

"Our future is very dependent on the quality of our workforce, and the quality of our workforce obviously depends on education," said Kazmierski.

Similar bills have failed in the Legislature before.

School District 11 tracks its attendance rate of parent-teacher conferences. The District says 99.42 percent of parents do attend those conferences.