Pritzker vetoed a similar version of the bill shortly after the January standoff between CTU and Chicago Public Schools, saying at the time he needed revised wording to ensure the agreement would only apply to vaccinated employees.
The compromise bill passed by the Legislative Assembly last week will also return sick days related to COVID-19 to vaccinated employees who had to use them earlier in the school year.
The governor’s office released a notice late Monday saying it would sign “legislation cementing COVID-19 sick leave protections for vaccinated school personnel” in a ceremony Tuesday morning at the state capitol. ‘Illinois.
Once the bill is signed, the law comes into force immediately.
It applies to all fully immunized employees of Illinois public school districts, universities, and community colleges. Paid administrative leave will also apply to employees who have children who must stay home for reasons related to COVID-19, and it provides pay protections to all hourly school employees such as janitors or bus drivers who must miss school during a school closure or e-learning day.
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The Illinois Education Association, which worked with the Illinois Federation of Teachers on the compromise, said some of its support staff and teachers had exhausted their sick and personal days because of the pandemic and had used unpaid leave to self-quarantine or for other COVID-related reasons.
“We have educators who have saved their sick time to be taken after the birth of a child, who have since run out of days and are forced to make a very difficult decision – to take unpaid leave or to shorten the precious time bonding with their newborn and returning to work sooner,” Kathi Griffin, president of the Illinois Education Association, told the Sun-Times in a statement.
In addition to teachers’ unions, the measure is also supported by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the AFL-CIO.
The CPS was among the opponents of the initial measure, fearing it would weigh on school districts already facing staffing shortages. But on Monday, CPS officials said they liked the compromise bill “because it provides more incentive for school workers to get vaccinated”.
The CTU walkout in January stemmed from disagreements with the city over coronavirus testing and when to close schools amid a COVID-19 surge. The two sides reached an agreement after five days of school missed.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire – Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2022.)