Wood Dale teacher says maternity leave denied due to summer birth, district denies claim

WOOD DALE, Ill. (WLS) -- A Wood Dale school district is contesting a teacher's claim that her maternity leave was denied after giving birth the day before school let out for summer break.

The Illinois Supreme Court heard Margaret Dynak's case on Wednesday.

Dynak, a teacher at Westview Elementary School, said in June 2016, the school district didn't allow her to take sick leave when she returned the following school year.

"The district decided because I had my child just before the summer break, which I had no control over, I no longer have the same rights as other women who have a child during the school year," Dynak said.

Attorneys for the Illinois Education Association argued on Dynak's behalf before the Illinois Supreme Court Wednesday.

According to the association, Illinois School Code permits teachers to take up to 30 days of accumulated paid sick leave after the birth of their child. The statute doesn't determine whether teachers lose that right based on when their child is born, the association said.

But the superintendent of Wood Dale District 7 claims Dynak "was not denied any time off she requested in connection with the birth of her children."

"The question in this case is whether paid sick leave is available for use four months after the birth of the child when neither the teacher, spouse, or child present a medical issue that requires the teacher be absent," the superintendent said in a statement Wednesday. "While the legislature is free to change the law, and the union is free to bargain for such a benefit, the present law does not support Ms. Dynak's claim to paid parental leave, as the lower courts have held."

Lower courts have sided with the school district.

According to the IEA, the Illinois Supreme Court is expected to make their ruling in two to three months.
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