LANSING — State Rep. Brian K. Elder (D-Bay City) has introduced legislation that would give workers unpaid leave from their jobs to attend academic activities for their children. Under the bill, a parent or legal guardian would be able to request and take unpaid leave for up to eight hours a year in order to attend events and activities — including things like parent teacher conferences — for or with their child.

“Aside from the scheduling struggles all families face, working class and poor families are hit the hardest,” said Rep. Elder. “When you have a family in which both parents are working, sometimes two jobs, six or seven days a week it is impossible to remain engaged in their children’s academic lives. My people should not be forced to choose between providing for their families and being involved in their children’s lives.”

Studies consistently tout the emotional and intellectual benefits for children when parents take on an active role in their academic lives. The bill, along with similar pieces of legislation introduced by House Democrats this year, aims to ease the burden on working parents, who often face penalties at their places of employment when requesting leave time for any reason.

“No matter your politics, at the end of the day we all want the same things for our children,” said Rep. Elder. “This legislation helps ensure that every parent in the state, regardless of their job or their social status, has the opportunity to be there for their child in an important way at a critical time in their lives.”