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Proposal in Illinois would enable only vaccinated school employees to use paid leave for Covid-related absences

Jan. 26, 2022
Employees at K-12 schools, universities, colleges who are fully vaccinated will be able to use paid administrative leave if they have contracted Covid or if they were a close contact of someone who tested positive for Covid.

Illinois school employees would receive paid sick for Covid-related illnesses under a proposal Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Monday. 

The plan would enable employees at K-12 schools, universities, and colleges to use paid time leave for Covid-related absences -- only if they are vaccinated against Covid-19, reports Chalkbeat Chicago

The proposed legislation would allow fully vaccinated employees to use paid administrative leave if they have contracted Covid or if they were a close contact of someone who tested positive for Covid. Employees also would allowed to use leave if they have children who are in quarantine after testing positive for Covid or were a close contact.

Paid administrative leave would be restored to employees who previously used their sick leave for the same issues.

The proposal would also include wage protections for hourly school employees such as custodial staff, transportation, food service providers, classroom assistants, and administrative staff who may have missed work days because a school closed or switched to e-learning, causing the employee to go without pay or take time off. Pritzker vetoed a similar bill, but that would have allowed all employees — whether vaccinated or not — to use paid administrative leave for Covid.

Pritzer announced the proposal after reaching a compromise with the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Education Association, the state’s largest two teachers union. 

School staff who are fully vaccinated deserve to take the time “they need to respond to the ongoing devastating impacts the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have on them and their families,” Pritzker said in a news release.

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