Executive Director Linda Barnes, Executive Vice President Shelly Shulman, Treasurer Edgar Landas, Director-at-Large Marie Delus, and I met with de Blasio Administration representatives from the Office of Labor Relations (OLR) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on February 10 to discuss the implementation of the Paid Parental Leave policy (PPL).
We told the representatives that the MEA applauds this progressive new benefit. However, our members are very disturbed that the initiative was announced with no consultation with the MEA. We oppose the elimination of a 0.47% wage increase scheduled for July 2017 and the reduction of annual leave days for senior employees from 27 to 25, which OMB states is necessary to offset the estimated $15million annual cost. The dedicated City managers who qualify for the now-removed two days of annual leave are veteran public servants with at least 15 years of service and are often more than 45 years old.
MEA suggested that the de Blasio Administration explore other methods of paying for the new benefit. The MEA also objected that other forms of paid family leave time, such as for illness of a parent or spouse, were not included under the new benefit.
We discussed the overwhelmingly negative feedback MEA received from its members and non-member managers. The online poll published in the January 15, 2016 Chief showed 60.2% of the respondents felt that, “(t)oo many union members are unlikely to be able to utilize the benefit to make it worthwhile to give up the time off and the raise for everybody.”
We reviewed OMB’s worksheets regarding the costs for PPL. We pointed out that there are no additional costs for managers and Original Jurisdiction (OJ’s) because the City will not hire additional staff to make up for the productivity lost by the PPL absence of these employees. The standard operating practice is that peers and supervisors cover for the absent employee, thereby incurring no overtime costs. This is an opportunity for the Administration to recognize all the unpaid hours managers put forth every day of every year to help us serve the people of our City. OLR said they have received calls from managers requesting more information on how they can access the benefit.
OLR responded that PPL is currently a one year experiment. In January 2017, we will be able to see how many people used PPL and what the costs were. Then a review of the payment method can be done with more precision than the current estimate prepared by OMB.
The de Blasio Administration, as well as the Comptroller’s Office, Department of Education and the School Construction Authority, need to know that the opposition to the elimination of two days annual leave and the 0.47% salary adjustment is not acceptable to thousands of managers and Original Jurisdiction employees. We need you to sign the attached petition and send it back to us by March 8, 2016, at INFO@NYCMEA.ORG SUBJECT: PPL PETITION. You can share this petition with other managers and OJs, as long as they are not above or below you in your direct chain of command.