In a ruling issued yesterday, the New York State Court of Appeals sided with the PBA by ruling that childcare leave benefits are available in Tier 3, the pension tier applicable to all police officers hired after 2009.
PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said:
“It is absolutely shameful that Mayor de Blasio’s administration would spend five years fighting against the working mothers and fathers who protect our city. These police officers – the majority of whom are people of color, and many of whom are two-cop families – are already facing daily abuse on the streets and struggling to make ends meet on a substandard salary. They shouldn’t have been forced to choose between their retirement and caring for their children. Unfortunately, we’ve come to expect this kind of callousness and hypocrisy from the ‘progressive friends of labor’ in City Hall. We are grateful that the courts finally stepped in to make things right.”
The NYPD allows its members to take up to one year of unpaid leave following the birth of a child. Since 2000, city law has allowed members who take childcare leave to “buy back” up to one year of pension service credit, by making the pension contributions they would have made if they were not on unpaid leave. This buyback allows police officers to take leave without falling behind on the minimum service requirement needed for retirement.
However, the City had claimed that the childcare leave buyback provision does not apply to police officers hired after 2009 under the Tier 3 pension plan, even though the benefit remained available to their more senior colleagues. In 2015, the PBA sued and won in state Supreme Court, but the de Blasio administration elected to fight the case all the way up to the Court of Appeals.
See the Court of Appeals decision.