As you may have heard, the King County Council is poised to adopt legislation on a Paid Parental Leave Pilot Program for King County employees (“the PPL program”). It is referred to as a “pilot” because it would be implemented only for 2016 with its ongoing future dependent upon results of the pilot, subject to bargaining in the total compensation process.
This is an idea that had its origin with the King County Council and the King County Executive. It is not an idea that was proposed by Local 117 or the King County Coalition of Unions and it was not identified in our surveys as a high priority among membership.
Nevertheless, Local 117 has not publicly opposed the PPL program despite having serious concerns about the inequity of the program’s applicability, the funding of it in the context of the County’s assertion that it has an ongoing and structural budget problem, the specific manner in which it is administered, and the ways in which it may affect the total compensation negotiations now underway.
While we are supportive of an additional benefit that would allow parents to spend time with their newly-born or adopted children, we also want to ensure that the County’s proposal reflects the needs and priorities of the membership.
Since this is a benefit that would change our collective bargaining agreement leave provisions and potentially impact available funds in the total negotiation process, the program is subject to membership ratification. We will be setting up meetings soon to discuss how this voting process will be conducted.