SPRINGFIELD – The following is attributable to Illinois Education Association (IEA) President Kathi Griffin regarding the passage of the COVID Adminstrative Days and Paycheck Protection Support Bill  (HB 1167), which now heads to Gov. Pritzker’s desk for signature:

“Our state is in the middle of a growing teacher and education employee shortage. We have thousands of open public education positions right now. We need to be doing everything we can to attract young people to the profession and to also show those who’ve chosen education as their life’s work that they are respected. Providing COVID administrative days and paycheck protection for hourly employees is one way we can do that. We know some of our support staff and teachers have exhausted their sick and personal time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have educators who saved their sick time to take after the birth of a child, who have since run out of days and are now forced with a very difficult decision – to take unpaid time off or to cut precious bonding time with their newborn short and return to work early. We have support staff who’ve used all their sick and personal days, and are being forced to take unpaid time off to quarantine or for another COVID related reason. House Bill 1167 would provide much needed relief to our teachers and support staff who’ve worked diligently to not only provide a quality education for students but also work to keep their students, schools and their communities safe over the past two years.”

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At 135,000 members strong, the Illinois Education Association (IEA) is the largest union in Illinois. The IEA represents PreK-12 teachers outside the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty and support staff, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.