Monday, February 9, 2009

House Clears Bill Requiring Employers to Give Leave for School Activities

The House gave final approval this morning to a measure that will require large, private sector employers to provide leave for employees to attend their childrens' school academic events.

HB 1057 allows parents to take not more than 18 hours of unpaid leave during an academic year to attend school meetings for their children. Leave is limited to six hours per month for businesses with 50 or more employees and can only be taken in increments of three hours or less.

Parents are required to provide employers with one week’s notice except in an emergency and employers may require that employees provide written verification of the reason for leave.

“Some parents simply can’t get enough time away from their jobs to help their children succeed,” sponsoring Rep. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, said. “This bill makes it easier for parents to attend the important school meetings that are so critical to their child’s success in the classroom.”

The bill has been controversial, and Kerr succeeded in shepherding it through the House Education Committee only after reducing the amount of leave that would be made available and making sure the bill would not affect small businesses.

Nevertheless, business groups continue to oppose HB 1057.

The bill passed the House on final reading by a vote of 35-30. Democrat Kathleen Curry of Gunnison voted "no" along with every GOP member of the chamber.

It now moves to the Senate.