Working Parents and Caregivers in Illinois Are Finally Guaranteed Paid Time Off

A reflection from Sarah Labadie, Associate Director of Policy at Women Employed

We did it! We made history for Illinois families with the passage of SB 208, the Paid Leave for All Workers Act! 

Dozens of Illinois cities and local governments, including Chicago, already offer paid sick days to their workers. The Paid Leave for All Workers Act ensures Illinois workers—no matter where they live—have access to the same right.  

More than a million workers across Illinois have no right to even a single paid sick day, forcing too many to make impossible decisions. Do you stay home—and lose a paycheck and maybe even your job—or go to work and risk your own health and the health of others? How do you decide between your child’s health and your economic security? 

Workers will no longer have to make that choice. The Paid Leave for All Workers Act gives full- and part-time workers across the state the opportunity to earn up to 40 hours of paid time off for any reason, including to care for themselves when they are ill, to care for sick family members, and to address an emergency that requires them to be absent from work. 

So what does this mean for expectant families and families with infants and toddlers specifically? It means that pregnant workers can take the time they need to make their prenatal appointments. It means new parents can make their well-baby visits. It means when, inevitably, a child brings home a bug from child care, parents aren’t desperately trying to figure out who can stay home with the child and what the impact might be on their financial stability if they choose not to go into work. 

The legislation now moves to Governor Pritzker’s desk for his signature, and we look forward to seeing this important bill become law. 

“Families in Illinois can now take paid leave to take care of their families or their selves without worrying about if they might still have a job, or trying to find someone to see after their children/loved ones when they are at work, or not worrying if they have a decent paycheck to support their family. I have faced all of those challenges, so I feel that this is one victory and I'm looking forward to more.” 

Lettie Hicks

Raising Illinois Family Leader, East St. Louis

Are you ready? Learn how you can get involved.