Colorado Gives Parents Time Off for School Involvement

dv1940034If you’re sick of losing sick days every time a call comes from your child’s school, you might want to move to Colorado. Then again, maybe not.

A new law signed by Governor Bill Ritter this week gives parents in Colorado extra time off from their jobs to attend meetings at their kids’ schools.

But before you pack the U-Haul, check out what’s been lost as the law’s been rewritten:

Time off is limited to no more than six hours a month, and  bosses can limit it to three-hour chunks, so you can’t take a day off to spend cleaning up a real mess. It’s also not six hours a month EVERY month because there’s a cap of eighteen total hours a year.

It also only applies to companies with fifty or more employees, leaving the waitress at a small cafe or the mechanic at the small garage out of luck. Agricultural workers, domestic workers, managers and independent contractors are also out of luck – they’re not included as “eligible employees” under the law.

Parents also have to provide at least a week’s notice. Which sounds good on paper, but doesn’t do much for the parent who gets a call from the principal at 7 a.m. saying, “your kid just punched Jimmy in the nose, what are you going to do about it?” Oh, and if your employer says it’s too busy at the office, he doesn’t have to let you out. He can call it “an emergency situation.”

So what’s the point of this law? To make Colorado “seem” family friendly?

It sounds like someone had their fingers crossed behind their back when they made nice to a parenting group with big promises. Because the people hardest hit by the loss of job time to see their kids seem to be the same people ignored by this law.

Thanks for the thought Colorado, but it doesn’t count.

Does your employer work with you to make sure you make it to meet with your kid’s teachers?


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