Resolution 5: Task Force on Paid Family Leave

Resolved, That the 168th Convention of the Diocese of California calls 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; and

Resolved, That the Bishop Diocesan shall appoint task force members representing lay and clergy employees and employers from the Diocese to complete this work no later than July 2018.

Explanation: Time for parents to care for newborn or newly adopted children, and the need for time to care for ailing family members should not carry the added stress of loss of income. Employers in many sectors now provide paid family leave, however no sector of The Episcopal Church in the United States makes such a provision. This creates a hardship for employees who need the time off, and for congregations which very often cannot afford to provide paid leave and also hire short-term temporary staff during the leave period.

The State of California has a plan which employers may join, but the Chancellor of the Diocese has determined that diocesan participation in it is not possible, because some benefits are provided to our employees through the national church. While it would be ideal for the national church to provide this benefit, the creation of a large-scale plan will take time. Meanwhile, a DioCal self-funded program (similar to the program for salary continuation, currently in place) would provide a low-cost option allowing for paid leave while also supporting congregations to meet essential staffing needs during the employee’s absence. This task force would research options, seek input from congregations and diocesan institutions, and propose language and structure for a Diocese of California program to be considered by voters at the 2018 diocesan convention.

Submitted by:  the Rev. Julie Wakelee-Lynch, Rector, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church,; Ms. Lori Coleman, Canon for Finance, Grace Cathedral;  and member, DioCal Personnel Practices Committee,; the Rev. Bruce O’Neill, Rector, St. Clement’s, Berkeley; and chair, DioCal Personnel Practices Committee,; the Rev. Beth Phillips, Rector, Christ Church, Portola Valley,; the Rev. Liz Tichenor, Associate Rector, All Souls Parish, Berkeley,


Family leave is something the church should provide. I certainly support exploring how to fashion a fair family leave policy - fair to the people who need it and fair to congregations.

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