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City grants six weeks of paid parental leave to teachers

The United Federation of Teachers had lobbied City Hall for its 120,000 members.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announces the United Federation

Mayor Bill de Blasio announces the United Federation of Teachers' 120,000 members will soon be able to take six weeks of paid, parental leave. Photo Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

New York City public school teachers will now get six weeks of paid parental leave at their full salary under an agreement the city and the teacher’s union announced Wednesday.

Beginning Sept. 4, 2018, educators can take the leave for the birth of a child as well as the adoption or fostering of a child under the age of 6.

The agreement comes after the United Federation of Teachers waged an aggressive public campaign urging City Hall to extend the benefit to its 120,000 members.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew, as well as the city’s Labor Commissioner Robert Linn and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, joined Mayor Bill de Blasio in touting the agreement.

“It’s a fundamental matter of fairness to make sure that people have this opportunity,” de Blasio said.

To cover the costs of the benefit, the city will put about $51 million into the UFT Welfare Fund annually. But the city said the arrangement will not cost taxpayers anything because the union agreed to various savings in extending its 2009-2018 contract by two-and-one-half months.

Before the new deal, UFT members could take up to six weeks of leave, but it was not paid. They had to use sick days if they wanted to be compensated during that period.

Going forward, parents who give birth or otherwise welcome a new child may take up to six weeks of paid time off. Those who give birth will be able to take more paid time off by using their sick days.

“You know as a teacher, almost 26 years ago, I did not have paid parental leave,” Carranza said. “So I had to make the very difficult choice, and luckily my spouse was able to stay home and take that time, but we had to make the choice.”

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