SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed a bill on Monday that guarantees at least one week of paid leave for nearly all workers in the state.
The “Paid Leave for All Workers Act” gives employees one hour of leave for 40 hours worked, according to NBC Chicago. While it will go up to 40 hours total, employers can offer more if they want.
It will kick in once the employee has worked for 90 days.
“Every working Illinoisan knows that sometimes unavoidable circumstances prevent you from doing your job,” Pritzker said on Jan. 11, when the bill passed both chambers. “I’m proud to say that the General Assembly has recognized that struggle and passed a bill guaranteeing five days of paid leave for all employees in our state.”
The bill says that the paid leave can be used for any reason, unlike in other states with similar bills that only allow the hours to be used for health reasons.
“For too long we have refused to accept this inevitability and penalized workers for dealing with family emergencies, broken down cars, or any of the other life complications we all face,” Pritzker’s statement continued. “Working families face enough challenges without the concern of losing a day’s pay when life gets in the way.”
Workplaces may still require their employees to provide notice before taking the paid time off.
“If the use of leave is unforeseeable, an employee is directed to provide notice as soon as practicable,” a release from the Illinois Senate Democrats states.
“Employers benefit from allowing employees to tend to the urgent personal matters of their lives. Workers’ productivity increases, and they often gain greater passion for their job when they can manage the stresses they face outside work more easily,” Pritzker dais. “Doing what’s right for businesses and employees is the balance we’re always looking to advance here in Illinois.
While it does apply to most positions in the state, certain jobs, such as lifeguards, federal employees or college students that work non-full-time jobs for their school are exempt.
Molly Weston Williamson, a paid leave policy expert at Center for American Progress, said that paid leave is a labor rights and public heath issue, and that the legislation is “a huge step in the right direction.”
“Especially now that we are three-plus years into a global pandemic, I think all of us have a much more visceral understanding of the ways that all of our health is tied together,” Williamson said.
The changes will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.