Resolution 1: Paid Family Leave

Resolved, That the 169th Convention of the Diocese of California directs the Diocese to adopt a paid family leave program for all diocesan clergy and lay employees, with eligibility and benefits at least equal to those provided to employees of secular institutions in the City and County of San Francisco; and

Resolved, That, upon the recommendation of a provider and related information by the diocesan Family Leave Task Force, the Executive Council is authorized to approve a paid family leave program as described above.

Explanation: The 168th Convention passed a resolution calling for “the creation of a task force to research and prepare a proposal for a paid family medical leave policy for consideration at the 169th Convention of the Diocese of California.” This task force has sought to remedy a serious inequity: because the Diocese, its congregations, and its institutions are exempt religious entities, their clergy and lay employees (collectively “DioCal employees”) are ineligible for the paid family leave benefits available to almost every other employee in the State of California.

California Paid Family Leave (PFL) provides up to six weeks of pay to employees who take time off from work to care for a seriously ill family member (child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or registered domestic partner) or to bond with a new child entering the family through birth, adoption, or foster care placement. When caring for an ill family member, the period of family leave is compensated at 70% of regular pay. When bonding with a new child, employees who work within the City and County of San Francisco are compensated at 100%. (Both programs are subject to a maximum benefit amount that would apply to very few diocesan employees.) This resolution aims to replicate, if not surpass, these benefits for all DioCal employees.

In the State plan, the cost for the benefit is 1% of an employee’s compensation. We expect that a private plan for DioCal would be similar in cost. At the time of filing the resolution, a third-party provider for the benefit had not yet been identified. The task force continues to pursue options, and hopes to present Executive Council with a proposal by year’s end. Our aim is to make the plan available to all DioCal employees, regardless of hours worked per week, and to offer generous benefits while keeping the program affordable for DioCal employers of all types and sizes.

This policy will be an interim solution while The Episcopal Church follows up on the mandate from 2018’s General Convention to create a task force working with the Church Pension Group on a churchwide plan for parental and family medical leave. We anticipate that a minimum of three to six years will be needed to bring this larger-scale plan to fruition.

Submitted By:  The Family Leave Task Force: Matthew Burt, Transfiguration, San Mateo, Chair <matthewburt@gmail.com>; Ade Adekunle, St. Timothy’s, Danville; The Rev. Bruce O’Neill, St. Clement’s, Berkeley; Jennifer Snow, Church Divinity School of the Pacific; The Rev. Ted Thompson, St. Cuthbert’s, Oakland; The Rev. Liz Tichenor, All Souls, Berkeley; The Rev. Julie Wakelee-Lynch, St. Alban’s, Albany.

Endorsed By:  Grace Cathedral (Lori Coleman, CFO), The Rev. Phil Brochard, All Souls, Berkeley; The Rev. Susan Champion, Christ the Lord, Pinole; The Rev. Stacey Grossman, St. Francis, Novato; The Rev. Gia Hayes-Martin, St. Bede’s, Menlo Park, The Rev. Beth Phillips, Christ Church, Portola Valley.

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