Bill would give time off for kids' activities

Posted at 6:30 PM, Mar 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-29 08:39:18-04

If you are a parent, should your employer offer paid time off so you can go to your child’s school activities?  State Sen. Bert Johnson from Highland Park thinks so. He says he plans to re-introduce a bill that aims to call for it under the law.

“I think it is an idea that has met its moment,” said Sen. Johnson.

Johnson has proposed such legislation before, but it never passed. He says he is going to try again.

Lawmakers around the country are looking at similar bills to the one he has in mind. In California they are looking at a bill that would require larger employers offer three paid time off days a year to parents for their children’s school activities.

Parents we spoke to say it would ease a huge burden.

“It would be a great impact if that was implemented,” said Selina Thomas, a Detroit mom.  “Trust me. I have been through it.”

“At least three days off,” said Maronda White, another mom. “There are 100 things to do during the school year.”

7 Action News caught up with Tom Choske, who works with Partnership Us, a non-profit that fights illiteracy. He says statistics show such a law could change lives.

“We have seen that when children have parents that are involved, it improves educational outcomes many times over,” said Choske.

Opponents say the government shouldn’t mandate what benefits private businesses give their workers, that this could be a burden some businesses can’t afford.

Johnson says it is about giving parents the ability to raise children who benefit society, without the fear of losing their jobs.

“A lot of people who are against this idea haven’t come to respect the paradigm shift that has happened in parenting,” said Sen. Johnson (D-Highland Park). “There are many more single parents, the likes of whom are struggling to make ends meet and put their children in extra-curricular activities and be that good parent that deals with them in the school system.”

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