Under new legislation in Illinois, teachers, educators, and school employees will now be allowed to use paid sick leave after fostering, adopting, or giving birth to a child.
State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), an adoptee herself, sponsored the measure. She said, “Illinois families are formed and function quite differently than when these laws were originally written.”
The legislation redefines how teachers and school employees outside of Chicago can use 30 working days of paid sick leave after the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child at any time within the year after the child joins the family.
"New parents, including LGBTQ+ couples and single parents, should have the flexibility to decide how and when to use their earned time off to care for and bond with their new child,” said Feigenholtz.
Brianne Kennedy-Brooks, an English teacher in DuPage County who is fostering children, said, “Thank you to Senator Feigenholtz and the other legislators who played a role in passing this crucial legislation. It should go without saying that educators and those who have committed their lives to caring for and serving children can provide precisely the safe, nurturing and secure environment that these kids need.”
“We will no longer have to choose between caring for children in need and keeping our employment. The movement to honor all family structures as equal is a huge victory for families in Illinois,” added Kennedy-Brooks.
The bill will also remove the requirement that sick leave days related to becoming a new parent be taken consecutively.
“This bill gives educators and school employees the ability to do the right thing at the right time,” said Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery. “Teachers and school staff put our kids first every day. They deserve to be able to do the same for their own children when it’s needed most. I applaud our lawmakers for passing this important legislation that prioritizes the needs of families.”
The bill will not apply to Chicago Public Schools and will take immediate effect once Governor Pritzker signs it into law.