Vaxxed Illinois teachers to receive paid time off for COVID-19 diagnosis or isolation periods

Fully-vaccinated teachers will be reimbursed for any sick days they had to use this past school year and can use them for future use.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law that gives teachers and other education staff time off for a COVID-19 diagnosis or necessary isolation without using up any of their sick leave or paid time off. 

It comes after this past year where teachers did have to use days from their PTO or sick leave to stay home with the virus. The caveat to the bill is that teachers must be fully vaccinated to be eligible. 

Pritzker vetoed an earlier version of the bill back in January, arguing that the language needed to specify the paid time off was only for staff that were considered fully vaccinated by the CDC’s standards. 

Pritzker says it’s a way to further ensure the safety of all staff and students in the state. The law includes paid administrative leave for all employees of a public school district, community college or public university that meets the criteria. 

"It ensures that if a teacher has done their part to keep their classroom safe for their most vulnerable students, they wont have to worry for a second about their pay or paid time off if they get COVID-19 or are required to isolate," Pritzker said.

The bill also applies to staff members who have to isolate due to their child’s COVID-19 exposure. 

"They were dealing with all the same worries and ‘what ifs’ as any parent. What do I do if my kid gets sick or has to isolate?" Pritzker said. "Perhaps more than any other profession educators have borne that burden. So we are extending employee paid leave to cover their children’s needs and to ensure employee’s children who get sick or have to isolate and quarantine, they have one less thing to worry about." 

Teachers that did have to use their PTO for the 2021-2022 school year due to COVID-19 will have those days restored for their future use. 

Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery sees it as a way to get more young students interested in joining the education field by creating a job that guarantees your paycheck even while sick with the virus. 

"We need to get people to want to come into this profession, to have people want to go into a classroom of 20 to 30 students every day and say good morning," Montgomery said. "And right now we don’t have enough and this is part of that too. So, it’s dramatically important."  

The law is effective immediately.


April 5, 2022 at 07:52PM

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