Yes to Paid Parental Leave (if it’s done right)
Posted: November 23rd, 2015 under Councilmember Okamoto.
For the record, I support additional paid leave for parents, as well as eldercare.
But today, I voted no to amend the budget committee agenda to increase paid parental leave from four weeks to 12 weeks. As I said in the deliberations, I voted no based on the process – not on the merits of the issue.
The Council must respect the labor management process. The City continues to be in negotiations with our unions on their expired contracts. No tentative agreements have been ratified. Changes in wages, working conditions and benefits are mandatory subjects of bargaining. And leave benefits should be negotiated with our unions, where the interests and priorities of both parties are negotiated.
Today’s proposal preempts everything the City Council previously laid out. Not much more than six months ago, the Council adopted a four week paid parental leave program by Ordinance 124753. That program was on top of the City’s generous paid leave programs.
Furthermore, that ordinance adopted by the City Council created a path for reviewing this new leave program, requiring the executive to produce a report in July 2016 on the use of the program. That report would show what unpaid parental leave gaps remain, and how much any additional leave would cost.
And prior to this ordinance, the City Council adopted Resolution 31523 regarding gender-based disparities. In that resolution, the Mayor and City Council requested:
The City, through the Personnel Department, will review, modify and/or propose additional ‘family friendly’ policies and practices where applicable and appropriate … “ furthermore, “The City will work with its Labor partners to implement changes in compensation and working conditions envisioned by the proposed actions.
Let’s set this program up for success instead of failure. The proposal use money from a non-recurring source of funding and does not demonstrate that this benefit is financially sustainable.
I look forward to the day that labor and management comes forward with an extended parental and eldercare benefit that is carefully thought out and financially sustainable – but today we did not get that proposal.