2024 Women Employed Legislative Agenda

Women Employed is leading or co-leading with partners to advance the following priorities in 2024. These priorities will ensure that women—especially women in low-paid jobs and Black and Latina/x women—can build their income and wealth.

Securing Paid Family & Medical Leave

All workers will need long-term paid family and medical leave to care for their own or a family member’s serious illness, or to welcome a new child. But in Illinois, 62% of workers cannot even take unpaid leave, forcing them to make impossible decisions about their health and their ability to care for their families. Illinois must create a state-run family and medical leave program and make a difference for thousands of Illinois families.

Thirteen states and Washington, D.C. have already passed laws creating their own paid family and medical leave insurance programs. Illinois should be the next state to ensure paid leave!

Ensuring We All Work Without Fear
(SB 3464/HB 5071)

Immigrant workers face disproportionate rates of wage theft, unsafe conditions, and discrimination, yet they are not protected from retaliation when invoking labor standards. Currently, there are no limits against misusing immigration records nor any explicit ban on immigration-related retaliation.

Designed by and for immigrants, The Work Without Fear Act addresses these critical voids in our laws and protects workers from harm when they try to assert their rights against unlawful practices. This law introduces direct safeguards against employer retaliation, effectively banning practices such as using a worker’s assumed immigration status to make threats. Ultimately, the bill aims to create a workplace where everyone can feel safe and protected while upholding our state’s labor laws.

Illinois must take action and pass The Work Without Fear Act to address the specific ways immigrants are targeted on the job.

Securing a Full and Fair Wage for Tipped Workers
(SB 3776/HB 5345)

When the Illinois minimum wage was successfully raised to $15/hour as of 2025, tipped workers were left out of the opportunity to earn a full and fair wage. The subminimum wage for tipped workers is a legacy of slavery that disproportionately affects women and people of color. It is an economic, racial, and gender justice issue that has only worsened since the onslaught of COVID-19. We need to update our minimum wage laws to eliminate the subminimum wage for tipped workers in Illinois.

Restoring the Monetary Award Program (MAP)

The Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant helps Illinois students pay for college—but it is still not up to its 2002 purchasing power when it covered 100 percent of tuition and fees at Illinois public colleges and universities. If we don’t continue to make strong investments each year, we will never restore the program and ensure college is in reach for all Illinois students.

Creating an Illinois Child Tax Credit (CTC)
(SB 3329/HB 4917)

An Illinois Child Tax Credit (CTC) is the most immediate, meaningful and direct tool to help Illinois’ families with the rising costs of living. It reduces child poverty, decreases food insecurity, strengthens small businesses and local economies, and supports workers struggling to balance child care and work. Illinois has an opportunity to transform children’s lives by investing in a state CTC in 2024.

Funding Higher Education Equitably

For the last two years, the Commission on Equitable Public University Funding has been working to devise an equitable, adequate, and stable funding formula for our public university system. As the Commission nears its conclusion, it’s essential that we take its recommendations and turn them into action, ensuring that we are putting our resources into the students and institutions that need it most.

Protecting Paid Time Off

On January 1, 2024, the Paid Leave for All Workers Act went into effect, providing workers across Illinois the right to earn up to five days of paid time off for any reason—to care for yourself or an ill family member, to chaperone a school field trip, to take a well-deserved vacation, or for any other reason.

This new law ensures we all have a basic workplace right to paid time off, but not everyone supports it. We need to prevent efforts to undermine the law and to exclude workers who have gone too long without paid days off.

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

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