Working families need flexible leave policies.
Family and work patterns have changed dramatically in recent decades, yet workplace policies have not kept pace. Nearly 4 in 5 of today’s families (78%) are two-income households, where both spouses work for pay. Two thirds of mothers (65%) with children under age six have entered the workforce. One quarter (25%) of Americans report significant eldercare responsibilities, many of whom are forced to reduce their work hours or take time off to provide care for an elderly relative.
Flexible family leave policies offer working family members a way to take care of family responsibilities without risking their jobs. In one survey, 41% of working parents said they had missed medical appointments or delayed treatments for their children, which place their children’s health at risk because, they could not get away from work.
Family leave strengthens families, businesses, and the economy.
Flexible family leave policies increase employers’ ability to recruit and retain the best employees, improve productivity and morale and decrease turnover and absenteeism.
- Leave for school functions has been shown to reduce unscheduled employee absences
- Georgia law currently provides job-protected leave for voting and jury duty.
- Student achievement improves when parental involvement in school increases.
- Nine states and the District of Columbia provide job-protected leave for school activities, and dozens of states now provide greater access to family leave policies including paid sick days, use of accrued personal time for illness of family members and wage replacement for family and medical leave.
Strengthen Georgia families, schools, and businesses.
HB 311: the Parent Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. Roger Bruce (D-64), will provide up to 24 hours unpaid, job-protected leave per year to:
- Attend school conferences, medical appointments, and similar activities for the employee or employee’s family members.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Parent Protection Act
Who is eligible?
Private sector workers with 6 months of continuous service. State employees already receive paid time off.
What family responsibilities qualify?
School conferences and medical appointments (for self, child, spouse or an elderly relative) when the appointment cannot be reasonably scheduled during the employee’s non-work hours.
Is it paid time off?
No. This bill sets up a framework for scheduling unpaid leave at times requested in advance and mutually agreed upon by the employer and employee.
FMLA already covers this, right?
This is a common misconception. In fact, the federal Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 only covers extended leaves of absence for major health/disability needs for organizations with more than 50 employees. School and medical appointments fall outside FMLA.
Don’t most large companies already offer this?
Flextime policies are at the employer’s discretion. More than half the population work for small businesses who are at a disadvantage in competing against large companies to recruit and retain talented, qualified employees. Leveling the playing field benefits small business.
Is a new law really necessary to resolve this issue?
Yes. Georgia is an at-will employment state. A person can lose their job for a good reason or no reason at all. A direct conflict exists between existing federal and state laws that establish situations requiring parent participation in school conferences. The Individuals with Disabilities Act and the new drop out prevention counseling law are two examples. A parent who does not show up for a school conference regarding a child’s repeated unexcused absences can be subject to a juvenile court referral for failure to compel the child’s attendance. No one should have to choose between fulfilling their role as a parent or losing their job.
Did You Know?
Employers rank leave for school functions as the work-life program most effective in reducing unscheduled employee absences. (2003 CCH Unscheduled Absence Survey, Oct. 2003)
Employer productivity and profits increase when employees feel they can balance work and family responsibilities. (Bravo, Ellen. The Job/Family Challenge. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York. 1995)
Family leave policies increase employer’s ability to recruit and retain the best employees, increase productivity and morale, decrease turnover and absenteeism. (Ibid.)