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Bill Aims to Provide Parents Paid Time Off for Kids' School Activities

The Short of It

A new bill aims to give parents paid time off to participate in their children's school activities.

The Lowdown

It's always a tricky balancing act: making sure your kids know they're a priority, while managing your work schedule. For many moms and dads, their jobs prevent them from attending school activities, like field trips and concerts. That's why a new California bill is attempting to address this challenge.

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The bill, which is being proposed by state assemblyman Mike Gatto, would provide parents with three paid days off per year so they can make those field trips or help out at that holiday party. He explained the inspiration for the legislation to local news station ABC 13, saying, "Studies show that this greatly improves your child's educational chances in life. 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."

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The bill is currently going through the committee process, and Gatto fully expects push back from businesses saying they can't afford to give their employees time off for school participation. It's worth mentioning that companies with 25 employees or less would be exempt.

The Upshot

Just this morning, I reached out to my daughter's teacher to see if I could come in and read to her class. Truth be told, my inspiration was a story on Parenting.com that asked "If Your Kid's Teacher Graded Your Involvement, Would You Pass?" Given my work commitments, and that I have two smaller children, I don't get a chance to help out at school as much as I'd like. Sure, I do what I can, but in an ideal world, I'd love to participate more.

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A lot of parents are in my shoes; in fact, many of them have far less flexible work schedules and can't get involved at school at all. But teachers are taking note of how involved parents are nonetheless. One Georgia school has even considered punishing kids for a lack of parental participation! This seems to take things too far. Can we not look to solve the problem like the bill being considered in California does instead?

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