EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Following the signing today of Senate Bill 208, which guarantees an annual 40 hours of paid leave for most workers in Illinois, state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, issued a statement and sought to clarify what the new law does and doesn’t do.
“Today’s bill signing is a victory for workers and for those who advocate on behalf of humane working conditions and worker protections,” Stuart said. “Workers are people, and people have lives. Employers of any size should not force their workers to choose between losing income and letting common issues pile up. Five days a year of paid leave gives hardworking Illinoisans the flexibility to balance their responsibilities at work with their responsibilities as adults, partners, parents and citizens.”
Though workers in several industries, as well as those who are covered by bona fide collective bargaining agreements, are exempt; the vast majority of workers in Illinois will be covered by the new paid leave rules beginning January 1, 2024. Up to 40 hours of unused paid leave may be carried over from one year to another. Employers are not permitted to require employees using leave to explain what it is for, to require that they find replacements or substitutes before using leave, or to retaliate against them or penalize them for using paid leave. Employers may, however, require that employees give seven days’ notice if they are taking leave for a reason that is foreseeable. Employees taking leave will be paid at their full hourly rate, with employees normally compensated with tips or commission receiving at least the full state minimum wage. Full details on the bill are publicly available on ILGA.gov.
“Some are trying to cast this bill as an attack on small businesses, but I think that’s nonsense,” Stuart said. “The reality is that this bill imposes a small burden on employers in order to achieve a huge benefit for hardworking families. This bill will strengthen our economy, not weaken it. And besides, it’s just the right thing to do. Measures like this are necessary to keep Illinois with the curve when it comes to working conditions and standards of living.”
Stuart’s office is reachable at 618-365-6650 or firstname.lastname@example.org.