Paid Family Leave Benefit is a Hit

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By GREGORY N. HEIRES

In the first six months since its inception, more than 1,000 union members took advantage of the new paid family leave benefit.

“We are glad so many members are participating,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. “The union and New York City are setting an example for the rest of the country.”

As of early June, 1,032 DC 37 members had applied for paid family leave, which went into effect in January. The union won the benefit as part of the 2017-21 economic agreement.

Most participants–64 percent–took the benefit to bond with their newborn child. Other reasons cited were 35 percent responded they took paid family leave to care for a family members.

In 2019, the paid family leave benefit allows members to take up to 10 weeks to care for family members. The benefit covers 55 percent of the statewide average weekly wage, with a maximum payment of $1,493 biweekly. Click here to calculate your estimated payment.

The program allows participants to use the benefit continuously or intermittently. More than three-quarters of participants choose to take off the 10 weeks over one period.

You must start the application process with your agency Human Resource office.

Women account for 75 percent of the program’s participants.

This benefit is funded through a small payroll deduction. The maximum annual deduction or goal amount in 2019 is $107.97.
“The paid family leave benefit reflects our commitment to helping families at all periods in their working life, whether for birth of a child or care for an elderly parent,” said Moira Dolan, Senior Associate Director of DC 37’s Research and Negotiations Dept. “Workers are pooling resources for the greater good of the union community.”

Only 16 percent of private-industry workers have access to a paid family leave benefit. Four states—California, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island—have active programs.

Information about the city benefit is available at the city’s website. Go to https://www1.nyc.gov/ and search for paid family leave.

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