Parental Leave and Breast Pumps for UFT Members and All City Union Workers
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As a member of the United Federation of Teachers and expectant mother, I would like Michael Mulgrew and Bill De Blasio to extend De Blasio’s executive order, which went into effect on December 22, 2015, immediately to all UFT members and city union workers. This order covers six weeks of paid leave at 100 percent of salary for parents who have or adopt a child or take one into foster care. Parents who had to use days from their CAR (Cumulative Absence Reserve) should be given their days back retroactively, while parents who were docked pay (both summer and regular) due to a non paid parental leave should also be reimbursed retroactively. Lastly, this new benefit should be added to all workers without a decrease in pay or other benefits.
Parenthood is a beautiful gift that should be honored by allowing all parents the right to care for their babies at home, especially in the first weeks of a baby's life. Currently, only pregnant mothers are able to use their acquired sick time in order to stay home with their newly born children because we label their pregnancy as a medical condition or illness that warrants 6 weeks for vaginal birth and 8 weeks for cesarean birth. This policy disregards non-birth parents and encourages birth mothers to have a c-section just to have more time home with their newborn. Non-birth parents have no parental leave, regardless of the amount of time they have acquired through their years of service. All parents, regardless of whether they physically birthed a child should be granted paid leave. Also, parents should be able to take up to 12 weeks when combined with regular sick and vacation time. Parents should not have to take non-paid leave when they have the time accrued.
In addition to parental leave, the city should not be allowed to "opt out" of the Affordable Care Act's mandate that insurance companies cover the cost of breast pumps for all working mothers. It is disgusting that an employer that makes women return to work 6 weeks after having a baby escapes their civil responsibility by being "grandfathered" into an insurance plan that does not cover the child and mother's health and right to breastfeed.
Micheal Mulgrew, Bill de Blasio and Carmen Farina need to negotiate a new amendment to our current contract that supports all parents' rights to care for their new born children and make sure they are as healthy as possible from having a loving caregiver to nutritious breast milk. The current policy simply perpetuates sexism in our society by showing our children that men and non-birth parents do not need to care for new born children. New York City workers and children deserve better.
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