SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Education Association (IEA) is continuing its fight in the Illinois legislature to protect working parents. House Bill 816 (HB816) is backed by the IEA and was introduced this session after an Illinois Supreme Court decision last spring.
HB816 would allow educators to take their birth leave non-consecutively within a 12-month time period. The bill will help clarify Section 24-6 of the Illinois School Code, which provides that both male and female teachers may use up to 30 days of accumulated paid sick leave for “birth,” absent any medical need for such leave.
“We all know the positive impact on infants when they bond with their parents. What we’re doing here is making sure that educators, men and women, can take their earned sick days and use them after the birth of their child,” IEA President Kathi Griffin said. “This means that if an educator has a child over the summer, or shortly before a school break, he or she could take their earned sick days when school resumes.”
The Supreme Court ruled against Margaret Dynak in Dynak vs. Board of Education Wood Dale School District 7. Margaret Dynak is an IEA member and a teacher at Westview Elementary School in Wood Dale. She was denied use of birth leave when her daughter was born.
In June 2016, Wood Dale District 7 only allowed Dynak to use one and a half days of sick leave for the birth of her child, despite the fact that the School Code entitles her to use up to 30 days for birth, absent medical certification. The school district based its decision solely on when Dynak’s child was born, which happened to be just before the summer break.
“We were disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision,” IEA President Kathi Griffin said. “The school code impacts thousands of educators and their infant children all across the state of Illinois. We brought this issue to lawmakers, so that we can protect the rights of our educators and their families. No one should be forced to make the painstaking decision Margaret had to.”
HB816 now moves to the Senate and is scheduled for a first reading next week.
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.