Working Families in Illinois Need Comprehensive Paid Leave

At some point, nearly everyone will need to take time away from work to deal with a serious personal or family illness, or to care for a new child. But few workers have access to paid family leave through their employers or to employer-provided short-term disability insurance. The passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in 1993 was a first attempt at bridging the gap between work and family by providing 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible workers for parental leave, or for the serious illness of the employee or to care for her parent, spouse, or child at employers with 50 or more employees. But with fewer than half of workers qualifying for leave, and even more unable to sacrifice their paychecks, millions of people are faced with an impossible choice: work or family?

The Illinois Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act is a solution to this dilemma. It would provide employees with up to 12 weeks of partially paid leave for FMLA reasons. Additionally, this Act would broaden the definition of “family member” for whom a worker could take leave to care for to include any individual related by blood or whose close association with the worker is the equivalent of a family relationship.

Providing employees at any size employer with up to 12 weeks of partial income to take job-protected leave for a worker’s own serious health condition or that of a family member, parental leave, or military caregiving;

Paying for this through payroll contributions from employees of about $3 a week.

Together, we will ensure more women, families, and communities can build their economic power and thrive.

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