Press releases

UFT, DOE announce paid parental leave policy

Mayor de Blasio and United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew today announced an agreement to provide paid parental leave for thousands of UFT-represented New York City employees.

The new deal provides six weeks of time off at full salary for maternity, paternity, adoption and foster care leave; when combined with current sick leave provisions, new mothers could have a total of 12 to 14 weeks of paid leave.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew said: “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.”

For the first time, fathers as well as non-birth parents – foster, adoptive and surrogate – are eligible for paid time off with the arrival of a child: under the new agreement they would now be eligible for six weeks paid parental leave at full salary.

The agreement provides birth mothers with up to 12 to 14 weeks paid time off, at full salary, by combining six weeks of paid parental leave with accrued sick days.

The deal takes effect Sept. 4, 2018. The estimated $35 million cost to the union will be funded by a 73-day extension of the existing UFT contracts, which had been scheduled to expire on November 30, 2018. The new agreement does not require the loss of an expected raise, reduced vacation time, or similar contract concessions.

The UFT represents more than 120,000 city workers including teachers, paraprofessionals (teachers-aides), guidance counselors, nurses and other positions such as supervisors of school safety who would be entitled to paid parental leave. On average, between 3,000 and 4,000 UFT members each year use the current system of up to six to eight weeks of accumulated sick leave for pregnancy and childbirth.

The agreement is subject to approval by the UFT Delegate Assembly, the union’s highest policy-making group.

History

In the early years of the city’s Board of Education, female teachers could be fired for getting married or getting pregnant In 1913 Bronx teacher Bridget Caufield Peixotto was fired for becoming pregnant. She fought the decision, won back her job and established the right of pregnant teachers to take a leave of absence.

1967: The UFT contract won the right for teachers on maternity leave to apply for per diem paid teaching positions.

1973: The national Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) established that a new parent (including foster and adoptive parents) could be eligible for 12 weeks of leave (unpaid, or paid if the employee has earned or accrued it) that may be used for care of the new child.

1973: The NYC Board of Education adopted new bylaws regulating the “terms of absence for maternity child care” in order to comply with new federal discrimination laws.

1976: NYC Board of Education policy outlines the use of sick days to be used for maternity leave.

1978: Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act to make clear that discrimination based on pregnancy constituted unlawful sex discrimination.

2016: New York City mandated paid parental leave for 20,000 non-unionized city managers.

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