Are you an expectant parent? Do you have elderly parents who need your time and attention due to serious medical conditions? Is a family member deploying for military service?
Like many working families, you face difficult choices and have to consider how you will balance time when accepting a job, a promotion or a new work assignment.
Our families benefit when the breadwinners can take time off from their jobs to assist family members who need care, whether in the short term or on a regular basis.
With the recently ratified new DC 37 economic agreement, employees at mayoral agencies, the Dept. of Education, NYC Health & Hospitals, and the New York City Housing Authority will soon have the option to take time off with pay to for care for their families.
They join our sisters and brothers working in cultural institutions and libraries, who have been covered by this program since January 2018 when New York State law mandated such coverage for private sector employees.
Starting in January, employees in titles covered by the DC 37 economic agreement will make an income-scaled small bi-weekly contribution — ranging from 77 cents to $3.39 per pay period — into an insurance fund through a payroll deduction. The maximum annual deduction per year caps at $107.97.
In 2019, he Paid Family Leave program will entitle workers to take up to ten weeks off to care for a new baby or an ill family member, including a spouse, child or parent. Even if your baby was born in 2018, you will be able to use this leave for bonding purposes within one year of the birth of the child.
Like the federal Family Medical Leave Act, workers will continue to be covered by their health insurance, and they will have the right to take the time off and the right to get their job back. The federal FMLA does not provide participants with pay, unless they have time in the bank.
With this new benefit, city employees will receive between $200 and $746 per week through an insurance benefit, depending on their income.
“Knowing that you will have some income coming in, continued health insurance coverage and a guarantee that your job will be there when you’re ready to return to work is an invaluable enhancement to your benefit package and gives your family greater security,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said.
The paid family leave plan is more comprehensive than a paid parental leave benefit, which is only for the birth or adoption of a child. Our union aimed to negotiate a leave plan that benefits more family members. City agencies will have more details about how to apply for the leave in late December.
New York State has a FAQ ( frequently asked questions) about the paid family leave plan.
The DC 37 Blog is an official online publication of District Council 37, AFSCME, which represents 125,000 municipal employees in the New York City area. This article originally appeared in the November-December 2018 issue of Public Employee Press.