All NYC public school teachers eligible for paid parental leave

NEW YORK — All New York City public school teachers are now eligible for paid parental leave.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that the city will provide paid leave for all 120,000 members of the United Federation of Teachers starting in September, when classes resume.

“There’s no one who does more to shape the future of our city than our teachers, and we honor them for that,” he said.

Teachers can take up to six weeks off, covering births, adoptions and the placement of foster children under 6 years old, according to de Blasio.

Teachers have been fighting nationwide to win salary raises, and educators in New York have pushed for paid parental leave to guarantee pay for a certain number of days each year if they have to take time off to care for children.

“Parents are the first and last teachers of our children. When it comes to our educators, their first responsibility is to be the greatest educator to their own kids and this is going to give us the chance for them to do that,” the mayor said.

He also said the policy will help New York continue to improve the school system and its 1.1 million students.

“We take great pride and honor in taking care of children. All we asked for was to be treated fairly when members of our union have children of their own,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew.

The UFT is the country’s largest municipal teachers union. Its president said that even though New York is not one of the places where teachers have felt they’ve had to walk out, “New York City has teacher shortages,” and incentives like paid parental leave attract and keep teachers here.

“Paid Parental Leave policies can improve health outcomes for children and parents, help us close the gender equity gap, and retain the quality workers that make up our city,” NYC Council Member Mark Treyger tweeted.