On December 8, the PSC and CUNY management signed a letter of agreement that provides for ongoing funding for paid parental leave. Money for the current benefit would otherwise have run out on December 31. Existing provisions of the benefit, which covers full-time faculty and staff in the PSC bargaining unit, thus remain in effect.
WILL NOT RUN OUT
In the 2007-2010 contract, when the PSC won paid parental leave for the first time, the new benefit was created with a fixed amount of cash: paid parental leave was originally slated to end when that money ran out.
That has changed, and paid parental leave is now a regular part of the contractual benefit package for full-time employees in the bargaining unit after one year of service. The PSC and CUNY agreed that funding for the ongoing benefit will be worked out in the context of the next collective bargaining agreement, which will be in effect from October 20, 2010, going forward.
“While the current political and economic context means that progress on the overall collective bargaining agreement has been slow, [see November Clarion], the union continues to make progress on contract issues, such as this one, away from the table,” said PSC President Barbara Bowen.
Rujin Tian, assistant professor of biology at Bronx Community College, is due to give birth January 10, and had been concerned that paid parental leave might no longer be available. “But the union representative in my department, Alex Wolf, was very helpful,” said Tian. “He put me in touch with Patricia Young in the PSC office, who told me they were working to get it renewed.” When the deal was sealed, said Tian, “I was very glad to get the news!”
Any employee who became eligible prior to January 2012 and did not exhaust their paid parental leave by that date will be now entitled to the full benefit into 2012 without interruption.
The parental leave benefit provides for up to eight consecutive weeks of paid time off immediately after the birth or adoption of a new child. For a child’s birth mother, the period of paid parental leave begins immediately after the end of any approved temporary disability leave related to childbirth. Paid parental leave can also begin prior to birth, if medically necessary, or prior to the estimated date of an adoption, if needed to fulfill an adoption’s legal requirements, such as foreign travel.
Procedures for using the benefit remain the same. Eligible employees who want to take paid parental leave must give notice of intent to do so by filing an application form at least 90 days prior to the estimated due date of a baby or the adoption placement date of a child with adoptive parents. The form must be filed with the employee’s Human Resources department, and it must include the signature of the employee’s department chair or unit head to confirm that the chair or unit head has been given notice.
As before, the benefit covers full-time CUNY employees in the PSC bargaining unit with at least a year of service. Also eligible are full-time teaching faculty who have completed at least two continuous semesters of teaching and will become parents during their period of annual leave. (Substitutes who do not have a regular, underlying annual appointment are not eligible.)
For further details, see psc-cuny.org/our-benefits/paid-parental-leave-agreement or ask your HR office. If you have questions that your college HR department cannot answer, please call or e-mail Patricia Young in the PSC office (email@example.com or 212-354-1252).