Flight attendant sick day bill gains traction

Illinois Capitol News

ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Leaving work when you or a loved one is sick is not the easiest thing to do in some careers.

In almost every state, flight attendants can only use their sick days for themselves, not to stay home with their children or other family members. Two states do allow it and some lawmakers are trying to add Illinois to that small list.

Flight attendants work with people around the nation who already have this benefit and they said they have seen how beneficial it can be for families. Right now, only California and Maryland have this right in place. However, there are lawsuits in other places like New York City where people said airlines are violating the city’s sick leave policy by not letting workers use the sick time they have accumulated.

An Illinois flight attendant with Southwest Airlines joined lawmakers at the Capitol Wednesday. She said she had to stop working when her husband got sick and it left their family in a tight spot.

“The company does allow us in instances to use our vacation time to care for our family in those instances, but every other Illinoisan can use their earned sick time,” said Corliss King. “The challenge for me is to understand why anyone would be opposed to me allocating my sick time to my family members versus myself since I’ve earned it anyway.”

Flight attendants said the gap in the law prohibits them from performing to their best ability because they are in the air worrying about their families back home. The bill to allow workers to use their time to help families is picking up traction in the senate. It has 18 sponsors.

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