Mayor Bill de Blasio alongside the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) President Michael Mulgrew, announced yesterday an agreement to provide paid parental leave for all new york city public school teachers.
Per the contract, the city will provide six weeks of paid parental leave at 100 percent of salary for 120,000 UFT-represented employees – including all New York City public school teachers.
Paid parental leave will be available for the birth of a child for both birth parents and non-birth parents and adoption or foster of a child under the age of 6. Birth parents will be able to combine their current paid sick leave provisions with parental leave for up to 12 to 14 weeks total. It is estimated that more than 4,000 new parents will use this benefit annually. The benefit will begin on September 4, 2018.
“No teacher should have to come to school sick because they’re saving their sick days to have a baby. That’s not fair to our teachers and that’s not fair to our students. Today, we right that wrong and make the city a little fairer,” said de Blasio.
The contract covers all of the approximately 79,000 New York City public school teachers, plus UFT-represented school nurses, therapists, guidance counselors, secretaries and others. Eligible full-time and part-time employees may initially claim the benefit after being on payroll for a total of one calendar year. While on leave, they will be paid their full salary.
“Our educators give so much to the children in their classrooms. Now, New York City has a way for educators to spend more time with their own children. I give credit to Mayor de Blasio. He knew this was important for our city. No mayor before him was willing to do it, but he got it done,” said Mulgrew.
About 75 percent of New York City’s teachers are women. According to the Department of Education’s (DOE) maternity leave policy, they must use sick days, if any are available, in order to be paid for up to six weeks (or eight weeks in the event of a C-Section).
Teachers must save three years’ worth of sick days in order to take a six week leave (or four years’ worth for eight weeks). New mothers who do not have enough sick days saved are forced to borrow against future sick days, leaving them unable to take time off if they or their child fall ill. This policy does not apply to adoptive parents, parents who foster children, or fathers, even if they have saved the requisite amount of sick days.
Additionally, the new benefit will come at no new cost to the city’s taxpayers. The City will contribute approximately $51 million to the UFT Welfare Fund annually. This will be offset by extending the 2009-2018 UFT collective bargaining agreement by approximately two and one-half months, and fringe benefits and other savings.
The announcement was applauded by many Queens Lawmakers who believe the new contract is necessary for a fair and equitable education force.
“What a great victory for NYC public school teachers who will now have access to paid parental leave. All parents should be able to care for their young children without sacrificing pay. This new agreement modernizes the existing paid leave policy, bringing equity and justice for same-sex couples, foster parents, those who choose to adopt children and many others,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Elmhurst, Jackson Heights), Chair of the Committee on Finance.
“Today’s announcement is great news for working families across our city. Parents should never have to choose between work and bonding with their newborn,” said Council Member Donovan Richards (D-Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens).
“Pregnancy is not an illness and should not be considered sick leave. Our dedicated teachers deserve to have the time to experience the joys and firsts with a new child without the anxiety of leaving their child too soon. Paid parental leave is a big win for the teachers of New York City,” said ,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams (D-amaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village, South Ozone Park).
“For too long, being a present parent has been treated as a nuisance by employers, either implicitly or explicitly. One-hundred percent paid parental leave is something all workers should be afforded. Especially in the tragic light of what the federal government is doing to families at the southern border and across the country, it’s critical for this city to lead by example and demonstrate that families belong together,” said Council Member Francisco Moya (D-East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and Corona in Queens, including Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Lefrak City and LaGuardia Airport).
“New York City public school teachers have long deserved paid family leave, and today’s announcement is a major victory for working families. Every parent should have the opportunity to spend time with a new child,” said Council Member Rory I. Lancman (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica).