General Assembly Passed Guaranteed Paid Leave Bill For Illinois Workers

By Benjamin Cox on January 13, 2023 at 10:10am

Workers in Illinois would be entitled to 5 paid days of leave under a bill passed by the General Assembly this week.

State Senator Kimberly Lightford of Maywood says as many as 1.5 million workers in the state don’t get any time off to take care of personal needs: “Imagine you are down with the flu, you have a bad cold, or even Covid – and you are one of these millions of people. You have to consider if you are going to risk getting your co-workers sick or risk not being able to put food on the table.”

Senate Bill 208 includes all employers in the state to provide their employees with a minimum of 40 hours of paid leave per year to be used for any reason. Employers may choose to offer more paid leave time. A worker would begin to earn paid leave on their first day of their employment at a rate of one hour of leave for every 40 hours worked. Employees may use their paid leave starting on the 90th day of employment. An employer, however, may allow a worker to use it earlier. Workplaces can still require their employees to provide notice before taking paid time off. If the use of leave is unforeseeable, an employee is directed to provide notice as soon as practicable. Unused paid leave will carry over annually, up to 40 hours. However, employers are not required to cash out the balance of an outgoing employee’s paid leave. Employers that violate the act would be subject to penalties, including fines and compensatory damages for the affected employee.

State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer, who voted against the bill, says the measure hurts small business: “My major concern is the little guys. It’s the mom & pop’s that have 5, 10, maybe 13 employees that becomes a significant impact on their budgets.”

Governor J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign the bill into law within the next week.