Update to Sick Leave Code

See the information below for the update to the sick leave code for the state of Illinois. I’ve highlighted some of the areas of interest.


Including Birth & Adoption Leave

105 ILCS 5/24-6


The Illinois School Code Section 24-6 allows eligible school employees, including fathers, to use accumulated paid sick leave for a child’s birth, adoption or placement for adoption. Previously, the code only permitted paid sick leave to be used for personal illness, quarantine, or the serious illness or death of an immediate family or household member. Eligible employees are defined as full-time teachers and IMRF qualifying employees. Many local contracts expand sick leave use beyond the school code’s provisions. Additionally, the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other statutes may affect the employee’s rights and obligations regarding leave usage.


Medical or other documentation

  • For personal illness sick leave, the school board can require a medical certificate. For a leave of less than 3 days for personal illness, the board must cover the cost of obtaining the certificate. For a leave 3 days or longer, the employee is responsible for the certificate costs.
  • For serious illness of others and funeral leave, the board can require a certificate as it may deem necessary.
  • To use sick leave for birth, the school board does not have a right to request a medical certificate until after 30 days of sick leave have been used.
  • To use sick leave for adoption or placement for adoption, the employee needs to provide evidence that the formal adoption process is underway.


Who can use sick leave?

  • The school code provides that sick leave can be used for the serious illness or death in the household or immediate family. Immediate family is defined as parents, spouse, brothers, sisters, children, grandparents, grandchildren, parents-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law and legal guardians.
  • Adoption and birth use of sick leave applies to mothers and fathers, but likely not to other members of the immediate family.
  • Some collective bargaining agreements expand on the definition of who can use the leave and what sick leave can be used for.


How many days of sick leave can be used?

C   Sick leave for personal illness or the serious illness of others is permitted as long as a medical professional documents the need for leave.

  • The school code provides that an employee may use at least 30 sick leave days for birth or adoption and a longer period may be negotiated in local collective bargaining agreements.


How many unused days may accumulate?

  • The school code provides that employees may accumulate a minimum of 180 days of sick leave, though local bargaining may increase that amount.
  • TRS, IMRF and SURS permit employees to receive service credit for unpaid, unused sick leave at the time of retirement.


Jan 2018, Legal Services Department, Paul R. Klenck, Illinois Education Association. This does not constitute legal advice, but only contains some factors to consider.