SPRINGFIELD – House Bill 816 (HB816) passed both the House and the Senate and is now headed to Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk for his signature. HB816 is backed by the IEA and was introduced this session after an Illinois Supreme Court decision last spring.
HB816 would allow educators, both men and women, to take their sick leave for birth 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.
“This is about our educators having time to spend with their children to bond. We are so glad the legislature is making sure their earned sick time will be able to be used no matter when a baby is born,” 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.
“What happened to Margaret is heartbreaking. No parent should have to choose between a paycheck and bonding time with their child, especially when they’ve earned time to spend with their newborn,” IEA President Kathi Griffin said. “The school code impacts thousands of educators and their infant children all across the state of Illinois. This is a huge win for all of them and for the children of Illinois.”
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.