Proposed last week by California Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a new bill would offer paid time off from work for parents who attend their child's school activities.
In an update to the state's Family-School and Partnership Act, AB 2405 would give parents three paid days off each year, or a total of 24 hours.
Passed in 1995, the existing bill allows parents, grandparents, and guardians the ability to take up to 40 hours, or five days, of unpaid time off for school activities or emergencies without having to worry about losing their jobs. The new bill would require 24 of those hours to be paid time off.
"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. "You shouldn't have to be a cast member of the âReal Housewives of Beverly Hills' to be involved in your child's education," he said.
Gatto went on to say that studies have shown the positive impact associated with parental involvement in education, suggesting that it will improve the educational chances of a child throughout their life in addition to facing less disciplinary issues.
He added that something must be actively done to help students in the state and the schools. He said too many are "passively bemoaning" what is going on in the school system rather than doing something about it. His bill, he said, would help to get families involved in not only the educational process but also the school community.
Parents in the area agree with the bill, saying they would enjoy spending time with their child at school, but cannot due to their situations at work. Father Darryl Morgan said although family comes first, the bills still have to get paid, reports Tracy Bloom for KTLA.
According to a 2013 EdSource survey, 24% of responding parents with incomes totaling $30,000 or less said they are "very involved" in their child's education. In addition, 66% of parents said the major obstacles to becoming more involved include lack of time and conflicting work schedules.
Small businesses with 25 employees or less would not be required to follow the law, reports Sid Garcia for 6ABC.
The bill needs to go through a committee before heading to the state Senate to be reviewed and voted on.
Gatto said he is expecting some businesses to argue that they cannot afford to give employees three paid days off in order to comply with the law.
Mike Gatto, a Democrat, was first elected to the California Assembly in 2010. He has promoted a "Wiki-bill" for the state that would allow Californians to draft legislation in the open. He has also proposed a California government âX-Prize' like program that would award companies and entrepreneurs who developed intellectual property for the state that resulted in government operations being more efficient.