DENVER — The Colorado House of Representatives approved by a voice vote a bill that provides more rights for working parents.
“You’re trying to juggle three other lives plus your own and a work schedule,” explained DeAna Jimenez, a single mother of three.
HB17-1001 allows parents to take unpaid leave to attend their kid’s extracurricular activities.
The bill reenacts a 2009 bill that expired in 2015.
“To be able to take care of my kid without having to worry about my job it’s like a dream come true, I don’t know how else to explain it,” said Jimenez while holding back tears. “My daughter’s been teased a couple times because I’m not there.”
Last year, Jimenez said she learned the hard way what not having those protections means when she had to miss work to deal with an ongoing issue at her son’s school.
“She said, ‘I’m sorry you’ve taken off too much time, you’ve used up all your time and we don’t have a place for you anymore,'” she said.
“We really need to support our working families,” said Kyle Swartz, a 3rd grade teacher in Denver.
Schwartz said she’s seen firsthand the struggles of working parents.
Every piece of evidence that we have in education shows that the more involved the family is the better the kid does in school,” she said.
Under the bill, parents must provide one week’s notice to their employer, and can only take six hours a month with a maximum of 18 hours a year.
It allows parents to attend activities like parent-teacher conferences, dropout prevention, and meetings related to special education or IEP’s.
Supporters said they are confident the bill will pass a vote on the house floor Friday, but will face an uphill battle in the Republican controlled senate.
Check out the video interview with 9to5 Colorado member De Jimenez here.