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Poll: A Day Off For Parent-Teacher Conferences?

Parents should not have to choose between conferences and a job, advocates say.

Maryland lawmakers are considering a bill that would require businesses and state and local government employers to allow their employees to take unpaid leave to attend a biannual parent-teacher meeting.

Curtis Valentine, executive director of the Maryland Campaign for Achievement Now, a public school reform organization, said at a Senate finance hearing earlier this month that parents shouldn’t “be choosing between a parent-teacher conference and keeping a job.”

Senate Bill 329 requires employees to notify their employer at least three days before using unpaid leave to attend a parent-teacher meeting, according to the legislation.

Maryland Department of Legislative Service analysts estimated that between 40 and 50 percent of the state's 90,000 employed individuals would be eligible for up to 16 hours of unpaid leave under the bill.

Some small businesses may face increased overtime costs and other costs associated with decreased work time, according to the analysis, which did not specify the extent that the benefit was already available to workers.

Employees would not be allowed to use the unpaid leave more than twice per each half of the academic year, according to the proposal.

As of 2009, 12 states have legislation regarding statutory leave to attend school and/or daycare functions and conferences, according to Employment Practices Solutions, a human resources consulting firm headquartered in Southlake, TX.

I. DeFeo March 01, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I understand the problem many people have with scheduling conferences when they work fulltime, but like Amy, I have found many teachers are willing to work around those schedules and that many of the conferences are actually scheduled in the evening for that very reason. We can't have the government step in for every single thing. This just adds another layer of bureaucracy that we don't need.
David E. Weston March 01, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Teachers are always complaining about their pay per year when they don't work all year. So why is this an issue? They could make up for some of their time off by scheduling time in the evening or Saturday. My job requires 5 days a week and evenings as needed. A large company is set to work if some of their people are missing. A small company has to cancel jobs when someone is missing. It's about more then one mans pay.
withavengeance March 02, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Yes many employers are that hard and inflexible.
WestMonster March 02, 2012 at 01:30 PM
If the conference has to be during the day- schedule it in advance with your employer, like you would a doctor appointment. OR how about teachers' work hours for conference day are something like 12-8 so working parents can come in the evening. Employers' priorities are screwed up if they can't allow workers an hour twice a year to meet their kids' teachers.
Arge Anders March 07, 2012 at 11:48 AM
What happened to PTA meeetings when parents could meet with the teachers prior to the meeting or afterwards. Why not send written reports home rather than meeting with parents. If parents have questions, why not write to the teacher about their concerns.

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