SPRINGFIELD, Ill., June 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Countless family caregivers struggle with balancing the pressures of providing care for their loved ones while at the same time meeting the demands of their jobs. They are often stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted. But at least in Illinois, help is on the way through legislation that will allow working caregivers to use up to six months of accrued personal sick leave annually to care for their loved ones.
House Bill 6162, sponsored by State Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago), passed the Senate with bipartisan support and is headed to the Governor's desk.
"This bill is common-sense legislation that will bring urgently needed help to caregivers, while improving employee morale and reducing turnover," said AARP Illinois Manager for Advocacy and Outreach Ryan Gruenenfelder. "We thank Senator Collins and Representative Skoog for their great leadership, and commend all Republican lawmakers who supported this initiative. We urge Gov. Rauner to sign this measure into law as soon as possible."
"Caregivers do tremendous work just trying to take care of their loved ones while staying employed to make ends meet and put food on the table for their families. They are under tremendous stress and have little support or expectation of relief," said Sen. Collins. Republican Senators voting in support of this measure included Senators Sam McCann and Sue Rezin.
"This bill provides important flexibility so that our more than 1.5 million caregivers have the support they need at work that will allow them to better take care of their loved ones without having to make tough choices."
Illinois caregivers urgently need workplace flexibility. Sixty percent of caregivers in the United States are working, 56% of who work full time; six in 10 caregivers report having to make work accommodations because of caregiving duties, including cutting back on hours, changing jobs, or quitting work entirely.
The key provisions of HB 6162 include:
- Defines family member broadly to reflect the reality of the caregiving situation;
- Allows employees to use 6 months of accrued sick leave benefits for a family member's illness, injury or medical appointment;
- Provides that all of an employer's conditions and policies around sick leave benefits continue to apply, and;
- Provides that this flexibility does not change employee rights under FMLA, state family leave law, or employer's disability plan.
For more information regarding ELECT, HB 6162, please contact the Illinois AARP legislative office at 866-448-3613.
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SOURCE AARP Illinois