SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed a bill Tuesday which gives paid sick leave to school employees who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

Unvaccinated employees who have already used their allotted sick time would not be eligible for paid leave, under the new rule.

Gov. JB Pritzker, the Illinois Education Association, and the Illinois Federation of Teachers announced the plan to promote vaccinations in January.

“We want to ensure that our school children see the fewest disruptions to their in-person learning due to the public health crisis,” Pritzker said Tuesday. “The bill I signed into law today fulfills that promise by guaranteeing that if a teacher has done their part to keep their classroom safe for their most vulnerable students, they won’t have to worry for a second about their pay or their paid time off should COVID-19 affect their livelihood. At a time when we want to bring people into the education professions, this bill will help Illinois retain and attract teachers and support staff.”

This joint initiative provides the following protections for educators, school employees, and their families:

  • Paid administrative leave for every employee of a public school district established under Article 10 or Article 34 of the School Code, public university, and public community college who is
    • fully vaccinated or has received the required doses to become fully vaccinated within five weeks of the effective date of the Act and who
    • is required, or whose child is required, to be excluded from school because of a positive COVID-19 test result or close contact with a person who had a confirmed case of COVID-19.
    • has been required by the school or school district policy to be excluded from school district property due to COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Restoration of sick leave for every employee of a public school district, public university, and public community college who 
    • is fully vaccinated or has received the required doses to become fully vaccinated within five weeks of the effective date of the Act, and
    • who has previously used their sick time because they or their child were required to be excluded from school because of a positive COVID-19 test result or close contact with a person who had a confirmed case of COVID-19
    • has been required by the school or school district policy to be excluded from school district property due to COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Maintains wage protections in HB 2778 for all hourly school employees, including but not limited to, custodial, transportation, food service providers, classroom assistants, or administrative staff. This protection applies for the entire 2021-22 school year, including any days that a school has already closed or switched to e-learning which caused the paraprofessional to go without pay or take their own earned paid time off.