Updated leave guidance
Annexed are three DCAS documents and one NYCHA document for your reference:
- The first is “Managing the Return to the Office in the Age of COVID-19”, issued March 15, 2021.
- The second document is the Updated Guidance for City Agencies on Leave for City Agencies on Leave Policy Applicable During the Outbreak of COVID-19, updated 1/12/2021.
- The third document is the Updated Guidance on NYCHA’s Leave Policy applicable to COVID-19, effective January 12, 2021.
- The fourth document is the Temporary Policy for Vaccination of City Employees During the COVID-19 Emergency.
CSBA continues to advocate for the ability of our members to telecommute whenever possible. Even when the pandemic finally ends (and we’re most definitely not there yet), we want the option to work from home at least part-time. So much of what we do can be performed at least as effectively and efficiently away from the noise and distractions of the office, as demonstrated by the results over the past year.
The sudden rush back to the office, as ordered by City Hall, makes little to no sense in the context of what most of us do and how we perform it. Many of us will still be appearing at hearings remotely for months to come. Working from low cubicles in large open rooms with many other employees, such as in 4 World Trade Center for our colleagues at the Department of Social Services/ HRA, and in Lefrak City for our Department of Environmental Protection colleagues, and in too many other situations to mention here, only to have to struggle to hear and be heard at remote hearings, over our neighbors who are appearing at separate hearings from nearby cubicles, makes absolutely no sense!
What about the needs of families with young children? Not everyone is ready to send their children back into a group setting. Should these dedicated, hard-to-retain colleagues be forced to consider leaving city employment rather than being allowed to work effectively from home until September?
The pandemic is still here. New potentially more dangerous and more transmissible variants are being discovered here in New York. Not all of us have been able to be fully vaccinated yet. Ditto our loved ones. And we’re not even sure how effective the vaccines will be against these new variants. Indeed, infection rates are increasing again, and there may be another surge shortly. What is to be gained by forcing us to get on crowded buses and trains and elevators instead of continuing to perform the work effectively from home for a few more months, until the experts tell us that it is safer to resume normal activities?
We have objected to this incompletely-developed “Return to the Office” plan, both in the recent meeting between City Hall and the Municipal Unions, and in a follow-up letter to Deputy Mayor Anglin. We must be provided with ample opportunity to review and propose changes to each agency’s plan BEFORE City Hall approves such plans and Before they are implemented! We must see the supporting documentation for each location where our members work.
There is a lot for our health & safety experts to review, starting with what is the ventilation system’s air exchange and filtration capacity. And there need to be walk-throughs and Question & Answer sessions by each agency for our members and for the union. We will be working with other unions, utilizing every tool at our disposal to try to keep you as safe as possible, and ask that you keep us apprised at email@example.com of dangerous conduct or conditions.
Ultimately, we ask our employer, the City of New York, to rethink, revise and reschedule for everyone’s benefit. Does the City really want to risk making the same or similar mistakes as happened after the rush back to the office following the 9-11 terrorist attack? It is a fact that more people have died subsequent to 9-11 from illnesses related to airborne particles than during the World Trade Center attacks themselves. So many of us know people who have become ill or even died from this pandemic.
Waiting a few more months makes way more sense, as our Mayor recently pointed out to the Governor with respect to the reopening of fitness classes and expanding indoor dining. We hope that cooler heads prevail, and that the experts are listened to.
Please remember to immediately apprise us of unsafe situations.
Paid Family Leave is Here!
After years of advocacy and negotiation, we are now eligible for Paid Family Leave (“PFL”) benefits.
In 2020, the maximum benefit was $840.70 weekly, which was 60% of the NYS Average Weekly Wage (AWW), for up to 10 weeks. The cost, taken via payroll deduction, was 0.270% of an employee’s gross wages each pay period. The maximum annual contribution was $196.72. Kindly note that both the benefits and the cost has now increased slightly. In 2021, PFL allows coverage for up to 12 weeks, up to 67% of the NYS AWW.
For further information on eligibility and qualifying events, please go to the DCAS website and see Personnel Service Bulletin (PSB) 440-16.