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Gov. orders paid time off for parent-teacher conferences

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SANTA FE – Gov. Susana Martinez has ordered New Mexico state agencies to allow their employees to take a limited amount of paid time off each year to attend parent-teacher conferences.

In addition to the executive order, which was signed Wednesday, Martinez also urged businesses to enact similar policies.

“Parents are the best partners teachers can have,” Martinez said in a statement. “We want to help engage parents as much as possible, and parent-teacher conferences are a critical way in which parents can become informed and involved in their child’s education.”

Under the order, state workers with school-age children will be able to take up to eight hours of annual administrative leave – four hours in the spring and four hours in the fall – to attend school-scheduled conferences.

The exact number of hours an employee will be eligible to take off will depend in part on how many children they have. In addition to parents, legal guardians will also be able to take paid time off under the new policy, according to the Governor’s Office.

Other details as to how the new state policy will be enforced are still being determined by the State Personnel Office.

Some Albuquerque business leaders applauded Martinez’s order, which took effect immediately upon being signed.

“It’s important that all employees maintain a healthy balance between their home and work life,” said Jennifer Thomas, CEO of the Bank of Albuquerque and a Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce board member.

She said her business already provides paid time off for employees so that they can attend school activities.

Other states also have policies in place that allow parents to take time off from work to participate in their children’s school-related activities.

Under California law, for example, parents, grandparents or guardians can take up to 40 hours a year for such functions, though paid leave is not guaranteed for such time off.

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