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Illinois becomes third state in the nation to guarantee paid leave

This week, Governor JB Pritzker signed SB208 into law, which makes Illinois the third state in the nation to mandate paid time off to be used for any reason. This legislation provides employees up to 40 hours of paid leave during a 12-month period. Thanks to this new law, roughly 1.5 million workers will begin earning paid time off beginning in 2024.

“The guarantee of paid leave for all is about making workplaces fairer, and also about making families stronger,” said House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch. “Being able to care for a sick child, meet basic life needs, or taking time to tend to your own mental health shouldn’t be luxuries, but basic rights. Ensuring every worker has access to basic paid leave ensures that no one will ever have to choose between being there for their family or providing for their family.”

Under current law, workers are not guaranteed pay when taking time off for any reason, including sick leave, childcare, medical appointments, or other health reasons. This legislation provides that leave is accrued at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked. Beginning March 31, 2024, workers can begin using their earned time off and an employer cannot require an employee find their replacement for leave.

“Paid leave is one of the most significant pieces of legislation we have passed to move our state forward in over a generation. It’s a game changer for so many working families,” said Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria), who sponsored the legislation. “Whether it’s to help with a family health emergency, or to take a break for one’s mental health, paid leave is critical to the wellbeing of working people. Even contributors to Forbes recognize this is more than just great social policy, it’s great economic policy that can help to recruit and retain top talent. I am proud to have negotiated paid leave and look forward to seeing it fully implemented and the positive impact it is going to have on individuals across our state.”

“Working families face so many challenges, and it’s been my mission to alleviate those burdens in every way I can,” said Governor Pritzker. “We will become the third state in the nation to require paid time off, and the first among the largest 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. I’m exceptionally proud that labor and business came together to recognize the value of this requirement to employees and employers alike.”

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