The Committee has offered significant additional parental leave benefits from the most recent contractual agreement with the WEA (2019-2022), which provided three weeks to the non-birthing parent but 8-12 weeks to birthing and adoptive parents to be paid out of available accrued leave.
The Committee’s current proposal:
- Equalizes the leave opportunities for all parents, allowing for any new parent to have the opportunity to take up to 8-12 weeks of parental leave, depending on how they qualify under state or federal law.
- This proposal eliminates the disparity between a parent who has given birth and one who has not. If both parents are employed by the district, each could have the full entitlement of parental leave, which is a change from the current contract. In the event of multiple births, multiple leaves will be given.
- Employees may use available sick leave or other accrued leave (personal days, vacation time depending on the unit) for parental leave.
- In addition, the Committee on April 25 offered a week of paid parental leave that would come from a newly created parental leave bank of days that would be funded by the contribution of a single sick day from each WEA member. Members could tap this bank for up to five days of leave before using their own accrued days.
The WEA’s most recent request is for 15 additional days of guaranteed paid parental leave above and beyond the Committee’s offer. The School Committee recognizes the WEA’s desire to guarantee additional parental leave on top of accrued sick leave, but this is a costly and unpredictable item that the district cannot afford to add to the package that was offered on May 8.
Additional Note: By statute, the district is not eligible to participate in the Paid Family Medical Leave Act of Massachusetts (PFML) program unless the Town of Wellesley pursues a vote by Town Meeting to opt-in, which it has not done. As a result, PFML coverage is not an option the district can offer its employees.