Skip to main content

TRS Issues Employer Bulletin on COVID Paid Administrative Leave Bill

On April 12, 2022, the Teachers’ Retirement System released Employer Bulletin FY22-25 specifically addressing Public Act 102-697, which was signed into law on April 5, 2022 (Act). Under the Act, employers are to reinstate any sick leave used during the 2021-2022 school year for specific COVID-related reasons for staff who are fully vaccinated or are exempt from vaccination (under Federal Law). Employers are also to provide paid administrative leave for those reasons moving forward without deduction from sick leave. According to TRS’ Bulletin, “any paid administrative leave provided pursuant to the Act is reportable to TRS and will not be considered granted sick leave days.” This is effective for both active and inactive teachers. TRS also emphasized that any questions regarding this matter should be directed to the school district’s administration, who should contact the Board’s legal counsel.

Further, at this time, it does not appear that TRS will be requesting any documentation from school districts to demonstrate that the reinstatement of days and paid administrative leave were eligible under the Act (i.e., documentation demonstrating that employees were fully vaccinated or presented a medical or religious exemption from vaccination). TRS explained that they will be relying on the employers to accurately report the sick leave days. However, the Act permits employers to request such documentation, and it would be prudent for employers to maintain documentation establishing that employees for whom sick leave is restored are either fully vaccinated or have a medical or religious exemption to vaccination.

TRS also provided a brief explanation of how to report and where to go for more information. The bottom line, if school districts reinstate sick leave days or allow paid administrative leave days for the COVID reasons set forth in the Act to those who are not fully vaccinated or who do not have a documented exemption from vaccination, those districts could find themselves subject to the TRS sick leave grant rules. Those grant rules could render the sick leave not eligible for service credit and cause the Board to incur an excess sick leave penalty.

Contact Barbara Erickson or any of our Labor/Employment practice group attorneys with your questions regarding this new law and TRS’s Employer Bulletin.