Teachers don't get any paid maternity or paternity leave and many of them say they can't afford to take care of their own children. Our education reporter, Lindsey Christ, has the story.

Austin and Kieran don't even weigh seven pounds yet. Born six weeks early, spending time in intensive care, they just recently reached their due date.

But their mother Andrea Keller, a 4th grade teacher in the Bronx, feels she has to return to work. 

"They eat every 90 minutes to two hours. I'm breastfeeding them," Keller said.

Keller is heading back to the classroom because the city does not give teachers paid maternity leave and she's used her four accumulated sick days and "borrowed" 20 future sick days, the maximum allowed. 

"So when I go back to work I will have negative 20 sick days. So, no one can get sick," Keller added.

And teachers who don't give birth - such as men or parents who adopt - are not even allowed to use sick days. 

They can take time off - federal law allows up to 12 weeks - but they won't get paid.  

But now teachers are demanding a new policy.

Emily James, a teacher in Brooklyn, recently created an online petition that now has 81,000 signatures. The pressure has caused the city and union to try to negotiate a new policy. 

"This is something we think is important. This Mayor has said it is an important issue also," said Teachers Union President Michael Mulgrew.

Two years ago, the mayor announced 20,000 non-union workers would get paid family leave in exchange for giving up a planned raise, and that his administration would seek similar deals with municipal unions. 

But no union has followed suit. The Teachers Union president says workers under the paid-leave agreement lost more then they gained. 

"They want to make money off of families having children and we're not going to agree to that," said Mulgrew. "We're trying to be nice about it, but we're not going to continue to be nice. We're going to go out and start really campaigning hard."

James says she is one of many teachers saddled with debt and guilt from having kids. 

Not a new dilemma for parents who go back to work, but James says it is especially difficult for teachers.

"You have to leave your child at such a young age and expect to give all of yourself to another child, which you end up doing, because that's your job and that's your passion. But it just doesn't feel fair," James said.

Budget watchdogs say the city must tread carefully because giving teachers paid leaves would cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars year - and more when other unions inevitably say, us too. The city says only it is trying to reach an agreement.