In Springfield, House Bill 2778 (HB2778), the School Employee Benefit and Wage Protection Bill passed the Illinois House 92 to 23 and the Illinois Senate 53 to one.
HB 2778 will:
- Require districts to provide COVID administrative days to any school or college employees to be used for all COVID-related absences like quarantining and testing, so employees will not have to use all of their accrued benefit time during the pandemic.
- Provide paycheck protection for hourly employees. This means if a school or higher education institution has to close because of an emergency, hourly employees would still receive their full paycheck.
“For the last almost two years, we’ve lauded our teachers and support staff for their Herculean efforts keeping our schools running and teaching our students, all while keeping them safe and healthy. Today, my colleagues and I in the General Assembly backed those words with our actions in the passage of HB 2778, the COVID wage and benefits protection bill. I was honored to carry this bill, along with Senate sponsor State Senator Christopher Belt, as well as House Chief-cos Rep Hammond, Leader Evans, Rep Marron, and Rep Ortiz, plus the dozens of co-sponsors who got this bill done,” said Rep. Janet Yang Rohr on Facebook.
Kathi Griffin, President of Illinois Education Association, the largest union in Illinois, said members took action by making several phone calls to lawmakers making their voices be heard.
“This is about doing what’s right for our hard-working school employees, but also what’s best for our students. Our educators and school employees are currently exhausting their sick time when they must quarantine because of COVID-19. In addition, many students are too young to be vaccinated, which makes quarantining even more important for our student’s safety,” says Griffin.
The House Bill 2778 now heads to Gov. Pritzker’s desk for signature. To email Gov. Pritzker to sign the bill immediately, go to https://ieanea.org/covidprotectionbill/.
Tammy Gibson is a black history traveler and author. Find her on social media @SankofaTravelHr