New bill in Illinois will require all employers to provide paid time off

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By ELIZABETH DONALD
Illinois Correspondent

Springfield, IL – A new bill that has passed both houses of the Illinois Legislature will require all employers to provide at least five paid days off a year to be used for any reason.

Senate Bill 208 was revived in the lame-duck session in early January where it has quickly passed both the state House and Senate. Under the bill, all employers will be required to provide employees with a minimum of 40 hours or five days’ paid leave per year to be used for any reason.

Also in the bill:

  • Workers would begin to earn paid leave on the first day of employment at a rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked.
  • Employers must allow them to begin using paid leave after 90 days of employment, though they may allow it earlier.
  • Employers may still require employees to provide notice before taking the paid time off.
  • Unused paid leave must carry over annually, up to 40 hours a year. However, employers are not required to cash out the balance of a departing employee’s paid leave.
  • Violations of the act will be subject to fines and compensatory damages for the employee.

PRITZKER’S SUPPORT
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, House Speaker Pro Tempore Jehan Gordon-Booth and Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford issued a joint statement in support of the legislation. It read: “Whether it’s dealing with a sudden family illness or an emergency auto repair, sometimes life gets in the way of work. Paid leave will have a significant, positive impact on the lives of residents across our state, and underscores our commitment to uplifting working families. We appreciate the work put into this from all stakeholders, including business and Labor, to bring us to this moment.”

ILLINOIS AFL-CIO
The Illinois AFL-CIO posted its support for the bill on Twitter, calling it a victory for working families.

“No one should ever be faced with having to decide between their job, family or their physical or mental health,” said Tim Drea, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO. “Now all workers in our state will have a guaranteed, minimal amount of paid time off that they can use for any reason – whether it is visiting a doctor, attending a parent-teacher conference, caring for a family member, or recovering from domestic violence.”

A PROUD MOMENT
Gordon-Booth issued an additional statement after the bill passed both houses, calling it a proud moment for the state, according to Capitol Fax.

“Because of this legislation, more than 11 million hardworking Illinoisans will have access to paid leave at their place of employment that they once did not have,” she said. “Our employees are not only the backbone of our economy, but the backbone of their families and our communities, and they all deserve paid time off.”

Gordon-Booth told Capitol Fax that business and Labor worked together to make this legislation happen, including the Illinois AFL-CIO, SEIU, Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Illinois Manufacturers Association, AFSCME, UFCW and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

“This legislation will help make our state a more livable, desirable place for workers of all trades and industries, and sends a strong message that Illinois is a place that not only values the contributions of our employees at their place of work, but as they build a life for themselves and their families,” Gordon-Booth said.

This bill comes in the wake of a slew of new labor legislation for Illinois, including the passage of the Worker’s Rights Amendment, another increase in the minimum wage to $13 an hour, expanding bereavement leave for all employees, and increasing meal break and time-off requirements for employees with 12-hour shifts.

The paid leave bill has passed both houses of the legislature and been reconciled between them, and the governor is expected to sign it.

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