For First Time, New York City Teachers Will Get Paid Parental Leave

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, at a news conference earlier this month. On Wednesday, Mr. Mulgrew said getting paid parental leave for union members has been “a long fight.”CreditSeth Wenig/Associated Press

By Elizabeth A. Harris and J. David Goodman

New York City public schoolteachers will get paid parental leave beginning this fall, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday, replacing a policy that required new parents to choose between taking care of a baby and drawing a salary.

Under the current policy, teachers who gave birth could use accrued sick time to cobble together a maternity leave. But teachers earn 10 sick days a year, so creating a three-month leave would require working for about six years without having been sick — or having a child who had to stay home from school because of an illness.

Sick days could be borrowed in advance, but they would have to be repaid, a process that could take years. The Family and Medical Leave Act protects a worker’s job for 12 weeks, but offers no compensation.

Teachers who adopted, for example, or had a child through a surrogate, as well as fathers had to take unpaid leave.

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