Benefit for Non-Represented Employees Provides 12 Weeks Paid Leave to New Parents

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The city of Syracuse today announced that it will provide city employees working in nonrepresented positions with 12 weeks of paid leave, which can be utilized for a new birth, adoption, or foster placement. The new policy, which takes effect Dec. 1, 2018, is the first step in attempting to improve parental leave benefits for city workers.

“More and more businesses and governments are addressing paid parental leave, and the city must compete for talent in the open market. Paid parental leave helps staff manage a healthy work-life balance and provides organizations with an additional, attractive tool for retention,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh. “The policy will keep parents from having to choose between giving up some or all of their vacation time or paycheck to spend time with their family.”

The City did not previously have a paid parental leave policy. Instead, parents could take up to 12 weeks under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Parents were required to use any accrued vacation, personal, and sick time and then take unpaid leave. Most employees did not have sufficient accrued time, and were therefore faced with taking time off without pay to care for their new child. The new policy states that the 12 weeks must be used within one year of the new birth, adoption, or foster placement. Staff has the option to take all 12 weeks at once, to use the 12 weeks in increments of at least one week at a time, or to create a part-time schedule, at the discretion of their department head.

“Because we have more flexible work rules with non-represented workers which allow for an individual’s responsibilities to be reassigned to colleagues for a short period, we can start the benefit with this group of employees without having to increase costs,” Mayor Walsh said. “We welcome discussions with organized labor about similar policies for union employees in the future.”