Updated leave guidance
Annexed are three DCAS documents and one NYCHA document for your reference:
- The first sets forth city policy towards telecommuting and protocols for maximizing safety and mitigation of the spread of COVID-19.
- 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 1/7/2021.
- 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 proactively advocate, through the Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations and directly through numerous agencies where we work, for the ability of our members to safely telecommute in virtually every situation. Where this allegedly cannot be done, demonstrate to our satisfaction why the work in fact cannot be performed remotely. COVID-19 is a worldwide pandemic, and whereas NYC is no longer its epicenter, make no mistake: It is still here, dangerous and deadly, and likely to surge again without notice.
Almost all of us are working safely from home; our concern remains what happens next. Certainly it has now been proven that much of the work we perform, whether in the office or in court, can be safely and effectively conducted by telecommuting from home. Whereas we have been assured by that there is no imminent date for reopening or abandoning telework at this time, we have demanded that whenever even a partial return is being considered, there must be a sound, comprehensive plan to keep us safe, and that we be consulted sufficiently in advance to have meaningful input into the process. During this pandemic, we should only have to travel where absolutely essential, mission-critical work cannot be effectively performed from home.
We have many concerns and questions; here are just a few of them: When offices even partially reopen, we should be allowed to continue to safely work from home until we can be vaccinated. We have many members with pre-existing conditions, and many others who live with people with pre-existing conditions which make contracting COVID-19 far more dangerous. Will vaccines be made available to us at our places of employment? What changes will be made to the seating plan to increase social distancing? Will plexiglass barriers be installed? What type of sanitizing will be performed and how often? What types of testing will be available to us and to others within the office? Is the testing reliable? How often will testing be made available? Will a better sick leave policy be in place to encourage people to stay home when not feeling well? What child care options will be available?
Annexed please find a detailed plan, issued by DCAS, which calls for telecommuting whenever possible, and describes in considerable detail the types of precautions that we have been advocating for on your behalf for months.
Please Note: Since the CSBA office, indeed the entire Local 237 building, is physically closed during this health emergency, please be advised that the best way to reach us is via email: email@example.com. Please immediately apprise us of any unsafe situations you are being instructed to engage in, as well as any threats to jeopardize your paycheck!
Economic & Budgetary Impact to New York City caused by COVID-19 (Corona Virus)
New York City and New York State have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. We have lost far too many friends and neighbors, colleagues and even family members. It hurts emotionally and every other way. If there is any comfort in all this, history demonstrates that New Yorkers are resilient and rebound over time. Our Mayor claims we may even rebuild stronger and fairer than ever. Time will tell.
What is undeniable is that the city and state economies have incurred major losses. Virtually every source of revenue has been reduced, be it from income, payroll, real estate and sales taxes, and tourism, hospitality and entertainment revenue, to name but a few. At least there finally appears to be some relief on the horizon from the new administration in Washington, although how much, when and in what form is still to be determined.
Some of our colleagues, especially more recently hired folks, are understandably concerned about the possibility of layoffs. Please know that we are in negotiations to avoid layoffs, in partnership with Teamsters Local 237, with whom we are affiliated. Although we are a difficult-to-retain title, and relatively versatile in the types of work that we can perform, we cannot say with certainty what the future holds.
For those who would like to see what the layoff process and protections look like, kindly examine Article XVII (“Job Security”) of the 1995-2001 Citywide Agreement negotiated by DC 37 as the majority certificate holder. Generally speaking, layoffs are in inverse order of seniority within a “layoff unit”, which can be an agency, a division, or potentially even a unit. Needless to say, we will continue to do everything within our power to protect jobs, salaries and benefits. And we will most definitely not permit any last minute unit manipulation to make a person vulnerable who otherwise would have been safe!
CSBA must be provided at least thirty days notice of any potential layoffs. No such notice has been given to us. During that period, we would be able to meet with the city and agencies, and discuss redeployment (transfers within the same title and pay) to where Agency Attorneys are needed, as well as the possibility of buyouts and/or early retirement.
Paid Family Leave is Here!
After years of advocacy and negotiation, we are now (since this past October 6, 2019) 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, is 0.270% of an employee’s gross wages each pay period. The maximum annual contribution is $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.