Our state recently passed landmark legislation that will grant all employees in the state the right to take paid leave for any reason.
The Paid Leave for All Act, which was signed into law on August 20, 2023, will make Illinois the third state in the nation to require employers to provide paid time off for workers regardless of the purpose of their absence.
The Paid Leave for All Act is part of a broader movement to expand paid leave rights across the country. As of September 2023, 14 states and Washington, D.C., have enacted laws that require employers to provide paid sick days for workers. Nine states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws that provide paid family and medical leave insurance programs for workers.
At the federal level, several bills have been introduced in Congress to establish a national paid leave policy, but none have been passed so far.
Paid Leave for All Act
The Paid Leave for All Act will take effect on January 1, 2024, and will apply to all employers with at least one employee in Illinois. Employees get one paid hour for every 40 hours they work up to 40 hours.
Employees can use their paid leave for any reason, such as personal or family illness, medical appointments, school or childcare activities, domestic violence or sexual assault, bereavement or any other reason that is important to them.
The law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who request or use paid leave and requires employers to maintain records of paid leave accrual and usage for at least 3 years. Employers who violate this are subject to penalties and damages.
Is it needed?
Supporters of the law argue that paid leave is a basic human right and a public health necessity that will improve the well-being of workers and their families, as well as the economy and society. Opponents of the law contend that paid leave is an unnecessary and costly burden on employers that will reduce their competitiveness.
Regardless of whether one agrees, all workers and employers should understand these new rights and responsibilities.