Supporters told lawmakers now is not the time to create more stress on workers.
"Research shows happier parents make happier employees," said Vicki Newell, spokeswoman for the Colorado PTA.
Business groups opposed the measure, saying many companies have already pared staffs to the bone. They said it would create additional hardship for other employees.
Tony Gagliardi, spokesman for the National Federation of Independent Businesses representing about 7,500 businesses in Colorado, said many companies already offer leave.
The measure (House Bill 1057) would allow people whose employers have at least 10 employees to take unpaid leave to attend parent-teacher conferences or other academic activities related to educational advancement.
The bill would limit the unpaid leave to six hours per month and 40 hours in any academic year. It would not apply to companies that already offer parental leave.
Employers would have the right to require the employee to take leave in no greater than three-hour increments and to provide written verification from the school or school district of the academic activity responsible for the leave.
The House Education Committee delayed voting on the measure after hearing several hours of testimony.
In 2006, lawmakers killed a bill that would have allowed parents to take off up to five unpaid hours a month, or up to 30 hours a year, to attend parent-teacher conferences or other academic events. The bill would have applied only to businesses with at least 10 employees, and workers would have to give three days notice except in emergency cases.
In 2005, House Democrats killed a similar Democratic bill that allowed up to 40 hours of leave after Republicans attacked it as being antibusiness.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)