SPRINGFIELD – House Bill 12 (HB 12) passed the Senate. The bill now heads to Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk for his signature.
The legislation was drafted by the Illinois Education Association (IEA) and sponsored by Rep. Terra Costa Howard (D-Lombard). HB 12 expands coverage of the Family and Medical Leave Act to thousands of education support professionals across the state.
“When this bill becomes law, it will be a huge victory for our education support professionals. They’ll know they have access FMLA without the risk of losing their job and health insurance,” IEA President Kathi Griffin said. “This is something our members have fought for years, and that hard work is paying off. This is a huge victory for our working families and our talented support staff.”
“I am passionate about public education, and I know that education support professionals play crucial roles in making our schools safe, healthy, efficient places where students can learn and grow,” said state Rep. Terra Costa Howard. “Our hardworking support staff keep our schools running smoothly, and they deserve fair access to FMLA when they face illness and other life-changing events in their families.”
Currently, to be eligible for FMLA an employee must have worked 1,250 hours during the previous year. Unfortunately, this disqualifies many educational support staff from meeting the requirements of FMLA due to the limited number of days they are able to work during a school year. HB 12 reduces the minimum threshold to 1,000 hours, so that more education support professionals will qualify for FMLA. Education support professionals are support staff in schools like secretaries, teachers’ aides, paraeducators, maintenance workers, school bus drivers and cafeteria workers.
“We believe this law will help address the shortage of education support professionals in our schools. This a big step in the right direction. It will help us attract new hires to the profession and keep the talented professionals we already have on staff,” Griffin said.
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.