- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that the city will provide paid parental leave for the 120,000 members of the United Federation of Teachers beginning this fall, local news outlet, PIX, reports.
- Teachers will be paid up to six weeks leave time for births, adoptions and the placement of foster children under the age of 6, a benefit that the city's educators have been demanding.
- The effort is designed to improve the school system, attract and retain teachers, help close the gender equity gap, and improve health outcomes for teachers and their children, the mayor said.
While teacher pay has been a hot topic lately, other benefits also matter to teachers. In a profession where women largely outnumber men, the issue of maternity leave is a greater concern. However, offering paid maternity benefits seems to be a relatively cost-effective incentive to attract and retain quality teachers.
Leaders in other states are also considering changing maternity leave policies. School districts in Arizona and Virginia are also examining the issue, but in California last year, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill last year that would have required districts to offer paid maternity leave, citing this as a school level issue. In the U.K., teachers are routinely given four weeks at full pay, another two weeks at 90% pay and the option of an additional 12 weeks at half pay. In fact, most counties consider six weeks’ leave to be too little, though not all offer paid benefits.
Many teachers are drawn to the profession because they care about children. Paid maternity leave allows them the time to nurture their own family members, adjust to the changing dynamics in their lives, and achieve a greater work-life balance which will benefit themselves and their students in the long run.