Faculty, adjunct instructors and other staff at the City University of University of New York are now eligible for the state’s paid-family-leave benefit, the Professional Staff Congress announced March 17.
As part of its 2019 contract, the union established a committee to implement the benefit for both part-time and full-time staff.
Started at Senior Colleges
After negotiating with the city and the state, the benefit became available to PSC members working at senior colleges March 8, while those working at community colleges can make use of leave starting April 11. The union stated that the varying start dates were because of differences in the city and state payrolls.
Staff can take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave in a year after adopting or giving birth to a baby, to take care of a sick relative, or to assist family members who are deployed for military service.
PSC President Barbara Bowen noted that the benefit came at a critical time because of the pandemic.
“This brutal year has brought home to many of us how much it means to be able to care for those we love. Paid family leave has rarely seemed as important as it does now,” she wrote in a letter to members.
The union noted that the benefit can be used to care for a family member who has COVID or if an employee's child must quarantine.
Get Two-Thirds of Salary
During those 12 weeks, employees are paid 67 percent of their average weekly salary. The benefit is capped at $971.61, 67 percent of the state’s average weekly wage.
The state plan is fully funded through payroll deductions equal to 0.511 percent of employees’ salaries. The maximum annual contribution for this year is capped at $385.43.
The state’s plan is offered to instructional staff who work more than 20 hours a week for 26 consecutive weeks, or who work for less than 20 hours weekly for 175 non-consecutive days. Adjuncts and Graduate Assistants must work 26 weeks or 175 days—whichever is reached first—regardless of how many hours they taught per week.
The PSC became the first public-sector union to obtain paid parental leave in 2008. Full-time employees receive eight weeks of paid leave after a birth or adoption at full pay, but this policy didn’t apply to adjuncts, who were considered part-timers. About 60 percent of CUNY instructors are adjuncts, and just over half are women, with younger educators more likely to be female.
New parents may take both paid parental leave and paid family leave.
The union represents 30,000 faculty and professional staff at the city’s public university system. District Council 37, which represents about 10,000 CUNY employees, opted into the state paid-family-leave plan in 2018.
We depend on the support of readers like you to help keep our publication strong and independent. Join us.