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Bill Could Give CO Working Parents a (Short) Break

January 22, 2009

Denver - A bill scheduled to go before a state house committee today could give working parents the right to take a few hours of unpaid leave from work in order to to get involved in their childrens' education. Parents, like Maria Corral of Denver, say many parents need that time in order to attend important events such as parent-teacher conferences. She adds, children also notice the difference.

"Sometimes they understand their parents do have to work, but you can tell that they're missing something - that they want their parents to be involved."

Corral adds, if more parents got involved with what's going on at school, their children would be more likely to take school seriously.

"It would create this very positive environment for school and a sense of community."

Education experts say students whose parents are involved in their school tend to exhibit fewer behavioral problems and have higher academic performance.

Opponents of the bill say it could hurt businesses that are already struggling in the tough economy. But, a Department of Labor survey on a similar family leave policy found that 90 percent of businesses said they saw no impact or a positive impact. Parents would be required to give three days notice of the leave, except in emergencies, and it could be taken only in increments of three hours or less. Currently, 12 other states have similar parental involvement policies.

The bill, HB 1057, is scheduled to go before the education committee today.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - CO