Paid Family Leave Passes Illinois Senate, Mirrors Chicago And Cook County

Last week, the Illinois Senate approved SB0471 calling for mandatory paid family leave benefits to workers in Illinois. The bill now advances to the Illinois House.

Dubbed the “Healthy Workplace Act,” the proposed law provides that an employee who works in the State who is absent from work for specified reasons is entitled to earn and use a minimum of 40 hours of paid sick time during a 12-month period or a pro rata number of hours of paid sick time. If passed, the law would extend to the rest of Illinois many of the paid leave rights already afforded to residents of Chicago and Cook County under ordinances passed in 2017, which we previously wrote about here. Under the proposed law, authorized reasons for paid sick time would include:

  • An employee’s own illness, injury or health condition, or time spent seeking medical care
  • Care for an employee’s family member with an illness, injury or health condition, or time spent seeking medical care for the family member
  • Care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed due to a public health emergency
  • Absence because the employee or the employee’s family member is the victim of domestic violence or sexual violence
  • Absence to visit a family member who is in jail or prison for certain matters relating to the incarceration

The proposed law would also prohibit employers from interfering with, restraining, denying, changing work days or hours scheduled to avoid paying sick time, or disciplining an employee for the exercise of, or the attempt to exercise, paid sick time benefits, including considering the use of paid sick time as a negative factor in an employment action that involves hiring, terminating, evaluating, promoting, disciplining, or counting the paid sick time under a no-fault attendance policy.

The bill also would provide individuals the right to file civil actions in court to challenge suspected violations, and also empower the Illinois Department of Labor to enforce the law.

The full text of the bill can be found here.

And its status can be checked here.


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Gary Savine is an Illinois employment lawyer and founder of Savine Employment Law, Ltd. in Chicago. Gary regularly advises human resources professionals on recently enacted employment laws.