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Bill Proposes Paid Time Off For School Activities

Ben Margot / AP

In this file photo, first grade teacher Lynda Jensen teaches her class of 30 children Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, at the Willow Glenn Elementary School in San Jose, Calif.

Ben Margot / AP

Parents, grandparents and guardians could take time off from work for school activities without losing any pay under a newly-introduced bill in the California Legislature. It’s the latest effort to give employees more flexibility.

Currently, workers can take up to five days of “school activities leave” each year without losing their jobs – but they don’t get paid if they do. Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto wants to make three of those five days paid time off. He compares it to sick leave:

“For a long time, everybody fought the notion that you should get paid to stay home when you have a cold,“ Gatto says. “So a lot of people came to work when they probably shouldn’t have, and you had a lot of very, very unhappy workers out there who probably weren’t that productive. We think that this is in that category – it’s that important.”

Gov. Jerry Brown and California lawmakers mandated paid sick leave two years ago despite strong opposition from business groups worried about higher costs to employers. It’s likely the same groups will raise concerns over this measure too.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio