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Mayor de Blasio Announces Paid Parental Leave for NYC Employees - Putting NYC at the Forefront of Cities & States Around the Country

December 22, 2015

New policy will provide national benchmark of six weeks at 100 percent salary for maternity, paternity, adoption, or foster care leave – or up to 12 weeks fully paid when combined with existing leave

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new paid parental leave policy for New York City employees that puts the City at the forefront of city and state policies around the country, providing six weeks of paid time off for maternity, paternity, adoption, and foster care leave, at 100 percent of salary – or up to 12 weeks total when combined with existing leave. This new policy brings New York City in line with the most generous localities in the country, Austin and Pittsburgh.

Mayor de Blasio will sign an Executive Order so that the City can provide its approximately 20,000 managerial and original jurisdiction employees with this new paid parental leave policy as of January 1, 2016. Any changes to benefits for represented employees must be done through collective bargaining, and the City is ready to immediately enter talks with its municipal unions about extending the policy to their covered employees.

“Too many new parents face an impossible choice: taking care of their child or getting their paycheck,” said Mayor de Blasio. “New York City is leading by example, putting us at the forefront of paid parental leave policies around the country. This is a common sense policy that will make for healthier and more financially stable working families – making it good for employees and employers.” 

“No one should miss the sweet miracle of those early weeks because they are forced to choose between paying their bills and taking care of their baby,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, honorary chair of the city's Commission on Gender Equity. “New parents need time to bond properly with the baby and also adjust to the new life. Having a baby can be tough, even while it is full of joy. In a place like New York City, where new parents are often far from family support, giving new moms and dads paid leave means healthier families.”

Studies consistently show the positive impact of paid parental leave not just for employees, but also for employers and the people they serve – helping to reduce turnover, while ensuring that employees are able to return to work ready. For example, a report last year from the President’s Council of Economic Advisers found that over 90 percent of employers affected by a California paid leave initiative reported either positive or no noticeable impact on profitability, turnover, and morale. Additional studies have found that families that benefit from paid leave are less likely to receive public assistance, and that the program can substantially reduce infant mortality rates and improve a child’s overall health.

The new benefit will come at no new cost to New York City taxpayers, as the City will be repurposing the existing managerial raise of 0.47 percent scheduled for July 2017 and two days of existing vacation leave policy (the 26th and 27th days, which are received by long-service employees) to provide these six weeks of paid parental leave to all managerial and original jurisdiction employees.

The six weeks of paid leave at 100 percent of salary can be combined with existing leave – including accrued sick leave and/or accrued vacation – so that employees will be able to take up to 12 weeks maternity, paternity, adoption, or foster care leave without losing pay.

“Our great cities – where people live together, know each other's needs, and collectively represent the national majority – are taking the lead in enacting policies that become a model for the rest of the country. Mayor de Blasio is continuing this trend with his action to establish paid parental leave in New York City. Good for him and good for all of us,” said Gloria Steinem.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, “This new policy is another clear sign that cities across the country are realizing the value of family-friendly workplace policies. We need a national paid-leave program that covers all working Americans. I am thrilled that Mayor de Blasio is taking a lead in this important fight by giving thousands of New York City workers extended paid parental leave. We must continue pushing to ensure that all working families have financial security with access to these common sense policies.” 

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, “New Yorkers should not have to choose between keeping their jobs and spending time with a new family member. As longstanding supporters of paid parental leave, the Assembly Majority applauds New York City for taking this critical step to strengthen family leave benefits for city employees.”

“With Mayor de Blasio’s action bringing paid parental leave to city workers, the City of New York joins more than 163 countries in providing paid leave to women for childbirth, adoption and foster care. Unfortunately, the federal government is tied for last with Papua New Guinea. It’s really shocking to think that the strongest economy in the world cannot bring itself to provide the paid parental leave that families desperately need,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.

"Thousands of New Yorkers will have a happier and healthier New Year now that they no longer have to make the impossible choice between their family's health and financial stability," said Donna Dolan, Executive Director of the New York Paid Leave Coalition. "I applaud Mayor de Blasio for bringing us one step closer to making paid family leave a reality across NYS and the US." 

"Full equality for women is impossible without the ability to decide when and whether to have children – and the structural supports to exercise those rights," said NARAL Pro-Choice New York President Andrea Miller. "We applaud Mayor de Blasio for prioritizing women and families and helping ensure their financial stability through paid parental leave."

"Working families across New York City should be elated by today's announcement. All parents deserve time off to care for their new children, and today's action by Mayor de Blasio will make that a reality for tens of thousands of families. This immediately makes New York City a national leader on paid leave, and is another sign of the growing momentum across the city, state, and country behind this and other policies that put working families first," said Bill Lipton, New York Working Families Party Director.

“A Better Balance applauds the Mayor for recognizing how important paid leave is for workers struggling to meet the needs of their families while being able to spend precious time with a new child.  Thank you, Mayor de Blasio. Your leadership on this issue for New York City workers is a critical step to addressing the problem of lack of paid leave for families all over the country,” said Sherry Leiwant, Co-President, A Better Balance.

“Paid parental leave is an essential support for working families and communities,” said Ms. Foundation for Women President and CEO Teresa C. Younger. “When new parents – women and men – are able to take time to care for their children without losing their jobs or their pay, it benefits families, communities and businesses by ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to contribute and compete regardless of parental status. I commend Mayor de Blasio for his leadership on this important economic issue.”

"In announcing this important action today, Mayor de Blasio shows he understands that paid parental leave is essential for enabling moms and dads to give their children a healthy start," said Nancy Rankin, Vice President for Policy Research at Community Service Society. "Along with universal pre-K and expanded paid sick days, it marks another step in making New York City the best place to live and work."

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for giving New York City employees parental leave to welcome a new child into their family. I have long been a champion of Paid Family Leave and this step in New York City is an important first. This is a luxury that few can afford and no one should choose between what their heart tells them to do and what their bank account allows them to do," said State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, Independent Democratic Conference Leader.
Assembly Member Catherine Nolan said, "My support for paid family leave is has been longstanding, joining with many advocates, labor, and women's groups to achieve this family friendly policy. I appreciate Mayor de Blasio's leadership in this effort.”
"The first weeks at home with a new child can be stressful enough for parents without having to choose between their paycheck and their family. This executive order will help reduce that stress," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "It's an important step forward and starts to bring city policies into line with those of the Fortune 500 and governments around the world."

"Paid parental leave has been a focus of mine since the launch of Family Friendly Brooklyn, my vision for a borough that prioritizes the wellness of nearly 200,000 Brooklynites under the age of five. I am pleased that dialogue with City Hall has helped foster a robust policy allowing men and women employed by our City to put the health of their families first in the fundamental first weeks of their newborns' lives. Paid parental leave assists our efforts to address the inequality gap and helps all of Brooklyn’s children start off on more equal footing, all without putting one's job security in the balance. Mayor de Blasio's executive order is a crucial step toward achieving universal paid parental leave across our state and our country," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

"This is an idea whose time has come," said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. "As a longtime supporter of paid family and parental leave, I believe that it is critical in the United States today that we have a program that helps families after the birth of a newborn baby or when there is a seriously ill child, spouse, or parent. I commend Mayor de Blasio for taking this executive action to help New Yorkers who are City employees."

"I applaud the Mayor for taking this important step of offering six weeks paid parental leave to his employees. No family should be forced to choose between a paycheck and caring for their loved ones. It is my hope that this will serve as an example and take Family Medical Leave to the next level across our city, our state and our nation," said Congressman Eliot Engel.

"Under the leadership of Mayor de Blasio and his administration, the City of New York has made great strides to become more progressive and inclusive by tackling critical issues that impact thousands of hard-working New Yorkers," said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo. "As Chair of the Committee on Women's Issues, I applaud Mayor de Blasio for supporting our city's families and their need for work – life balance by increasing access to paid parental leave. This is the first of many steps to ensure that our municipal workforce has every opportunity to contribute to our economy while raising their families in a city that is setting the standard."

"All mothers and fathers should be granted paid time off from work in order to care for their young children at home," said Council Member Daniel Dromm. "I am thrilled that Mayor de Blasio has modernized NYC policy so that nearly all city workers will be entitled to six weeks of paid parental leave beginning January 1, 2016.  I join working parents in celebrating this progressive change and will continue to partner with the administration in order to improve the lives of families throughout the five boroughs."

“The arrival of a child is one of the most important milestones in any person’s life, and the first few weeks are critical as a family bonds and learns how to manage their new relationship. Having a parental leave policy that supports New York City families as they grow demonstrates, at its core, what our mayor and this city value; and I am incredibly proud to work and live here. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for leading New York City to the forefront of this kind of policy and for supporting our working families,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.

Council Member Brad Lander said, "Paid parental leave – whether for moms or dads, by birth, adoption, or foster care – is a big deal. We all need it, and we all know it, and providing it to NYC employees is a great next step. Thanks to Mayor de Blasio for putting the City of New York in the forefront of addressing the challenges of work/life balance in the 21st century." 

Council Member Annabel Palma said, “I commend Mayor de Blasio for his leadership and commitment in making paid parental leave for city employees a priority. Too often, employees have been forced to make difficult family decisions-- to spend more time with their newborn or newly adopted child, or return to work sooner. The lack of income during periods of parental leave have also disproportionately affected women, and has been a primary factor in our country’s current gender wage gap.  I’m proud that this executive order will secure six weeks of paid parental leave, improving job retention, wages, and morale in the workplace, all while supporting our working families. Investing in our workforce translates to more productive communities, something that all New Yorkers deserve.”

"Providing paid parental leave for NYC employees sets an important example - it demonstrates that New York is committed to supporting working families and providing the opportunity for them to care for their children without risking their security," said Council Member Antonio Reynoso

"As the brand new father of my first child, I understand all too well how important it is for parents to have the ability to stay home for a few weeks with their newborn without having to worry about working to collect a paycheck," said Council Member Donovan Richards. "Too many mothers and fathers in America are forced to leave their child in the care of someone else, so they can rush back to work to put food on the table and afford diapers. Mothers and fathers across the city can now take a breath after the long nine-month journey of pregnancy and begin to care for the newest member of their family with a lot less stress and a lot more sleep. I hope to see more cities across the country follow the lead of New York City," said Council Member Donovan Richards.

"Mayor de Blasio takes bold action to give nearly twenty thousand city workers the time they need, in times of need," said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. "As the first council member to take paternity leave after the birth of our second daughter, I know how important this time was to my wife and I. For single parents facing this situation, nothing could be more vital than the security of a continual paycheck while caring for a newborn or sick loved one. I am hopeful this intrepid move will encourage other governments across the state and county to follow suit," said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for putting families first,” said City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “Extending paid parental leave to more New Yorkers affords parents more time to begin building a bond with their child at one of the most precious stages in their life.”

"The de Blasio administration is to be commended for taking a huge step towards a more progressive New York. By offering paid parental leave to city employees, the city is setting a prime example for what the private sector should champion-- policies that strengthen New York City families. Residents of this city deserve nothing less," saidCouncil Member Jumaane D. Williams.

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