California Legislators Propose Law Giving Parents Paid Vacation Time to Attend Children’s School Functions

For parents living on the poverty line, it can be difficult to attend their children’s school activities. Now, however, California lawmakers have proposed a bill that would provide paid time off for such functions.

According to local news affiliate KTLA, California Assemblyman Mike Gatto recently proposed a new legislature that would give all state workers three paid days off each year to attend their children’s school activities. Such events would include parent-teacher conferences, open houses, and athletic on books with pencils and empty blackboard - back to school

During the announcement of his proposal on Thursday, Gatto championed the importance of parents being involved in their children’s school lives, regardless of their economic status.

“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,” Gatto said in a news release.

California’s current policy on this matter, known as the Family-School and Partnerships Act, provides parents and guardians with five days of unpaid time off for school-related activities and emergencies. If the new bill is passed, employees would be paid for three of these five days.

The proposed bill is something that many states have been working towards for several years. Approximately one in four working Americans get no paid time off whatsoever, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. This is in stark contrast to other developed countries such as France and Italy, which both give all full-time workers 31 days of paid time off.

While California seems to be at the forefront of this movement among states, there are some major corporations that have already adopted similar policies for parents. As Buffalo Business First recently reported, Bank of America has added four additional weeks to its paid leave policy for new parents, bringing the total paid vacation time to 16 weeks.

As for Gatto’s new proposal, he cited a study during his announcement that showed the glaring benefits of paid time off for school-related activities. Throughout the U.S., fewer than 25% of parents with an annual income below $30,000 consider themselves as being “very involved” with their children’s education.

“We must stop passively bemoaning the state of our schools, and do something to engage families in the educational process and the school community,” Gatto added.

It remains to be seen if the proposal will be adopted into law, but California has certainly taken a progressive stance on enabling its parents to become involved in their children’s education.

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