This bill would mandate up to 16 hours of employee unpaid leave for school conferences and classroom activities for employers of fifty or more employees. The Business Council opposes enactment of this bill.
Time is currently available
The Business Council agrees with the sponsors that children whose parents are actively involved in their education are more likely to succeed academically. However, for most parents, time is already available and this mandated leave is not necessary.
- Formal parent/teacher meetings are historically scheduled after traditional business hours or during evening hours. Most employees work during the day with many working a traditional 7 to 3 shift making it possible to frequent these important school/teacher events.
- Most employers offer paid time off in the form of vacation, personal time or through paid time off (PTO) programs. These programs usually offer significant flexibility for employees in planning attendance at important school events.
Give employers and employees choice and flexibility
Instead of mandating school visit leave, there is a much simpler way, besides intrusive government mandates, to deal with the majority of these legitimate time-off needs. In Washington for many years, there has been a move toward the allowing of compensatory time for private sector employees who work overtime and would like the choice of additional paid time off instead of the current required payment of overtime pay. Employees constantly request this option from their employers but the federal Fair Labor Standards Act does not currently permit it for private sector employers. This approach would provide more choices to employees to satisfy their particular time-off requirements and leave the government out of private sector employer-employee relations. Supporters of S.1834/A.284 should urge the New York State Congressional Delegation to support amending the FLSA and permitting compensatory time-off for private sector employees.
Additional mandates on schools
It seems a significant additional burden on our schools, their administrators, teachers and students for this bill to require them to now schedule regular non-emergency conferences and activities such as parent-teacher conferences and student concerts during both regular school hours and evening hours. As it stands now, schools in our state and throughout the country have shorter daily instructional hours and a shorter school year than schools in the countries of our global competitors. Unfortunately, student test scores reflect this over decades.
These additional mandates on our schools will work against reversing this trend.
For these reasons, The Business Council urges that this bill not be enacted by the New York State Legislature.