SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – Sherry Morris works as a home health aide. She has worked in the medical field for 43 years and said every job she has worked has given her paid time off. Her current job gives her one week of paid vacation time, but not paid sick days.
“If we had to take time off, it was unpaid which meant I would have to make up the hours missed for my client,” Morris said.
A bill that passed the state legislature would take that stress away from workers by guaranteeing them five paid days off a year which they can use for anything.
“Everyone should have paid time off,” Morris said. “They just should.”
Lawmakers have spent the past four years working with labor and business groups to reach a deal. The Illinois AFL-CIO, one of the largest unions in the state, was involved in the negotiations.
“There are a lot of people living on the fringes payday to payday and … even if the employer would let them take off, unpaid leave, they couldn’t afford to take off leave to go to a parent teacher conference, or watch their son or daughter in the high school championship game or take a sick child to the doctor,” Tim Drea, the president of the AFL-CIO, said.
The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association was also involved in the process. They opposed the original bill, but filed as neutral on the latest version.
“We were successful in making sure that employers have a lot of flexibility in how they administer this paid leave,” Mark Denzler, the president & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, said.
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce is also neutral on the measure, but they believe this could place a burden on small business owners, workplaces with seasonal workers, retail, and construction companies.
“This mandate is only going to increase the cost of employing people in the small business sector, which of course creates most of the jobs in the state of Illinois and across the nation,” Todd Maisch, the president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, said.
Under the proposal, for every 40 hours a person works, they would receive one hour of paid leave. Any time they don’t use would carry over to the next year.
Governor Pritzker said he is looking forward to signing the bill. If he does, paid leave will go into effect Jan. 1, 2024.