SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Jan. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Thousands of working caregivers in Illinois received a wonderful gift for the New Year: not only did the Eligible Leave for Employee Caregiving Time (ELECT) law, commonly known as the Employee Sick Leave law, go into effect on January 1, giving working caregivers the flexibility take care of an ill family member, but new provisions agreed to between AARP and the Illinois Manufacturers' Association strengthened this pioneering law.
Both chambers of the General Assembly unanimously passed a trailer bill to Public Act 99-0841 (HB 6162), signed by Governor Rauner in 2016, to further clarify and strengthen the law for both employers and employees. The new provisions were agreed to by AARP Illinois and the Illinois Manufacturers' Association.
"The new provisions to the ELECT law will help thousands of working caregivers in Illinois have the flexibility they need at work to perform their labor of love," said AARP Illinois Director of Advocacy, Ryan Gruenenfelder. "We thank Senator Collins, Representative Breen and former Representative Skoog for their leadership and their commitment to improve the lives of Illinoisans ages 50 and older, and their family members."
The ELECT law provides caregivers with the support they need at work, by allowing them to use up to six months of earned or accrued paid or unpaid sick leave benefits annually to care for a sick parent, child, stepchild, stepparent, grandparent, grandchild, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, or in-law.
"Our duty is to support families, especially those struggling with employment and the ever-increasing costs of living and caring for one another," said State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-16), who sponsored SB 2799 and HB 6162. "I applaud the Senate's passage of this important measure today and urge the governor to join us in expanding the flexibility of sick time use for workers already entitled to those hours. This is good for businesses, good for employees, and good for families."
"Today's bill proves the legislative process can work in a bi-partisan effort to support Illinois' working family caregivers while providing needed clarification for employers under the Employee Sick Leave law," said House Assistant Republican Leader Peter Breen (R-48), who sponsored SB 2799. "The measure will make a difference in the lives of thousands of working family caregivers who are balancing their careers and caring for an ill family member. As an elected official, I'm proud to have advocated for both the 50-plus population and the business community by passing this critical bill."
"When a loved one becomes ill, it is often difficult for someone to take the time off of work to care for them," said former State Representative Andrew F. Skoog (D-76), who sponsored the original bill in the House. "This law provides working people throughout the state with the ability to take care of their families without the threat of potentially losing their job if they have the sick time available. I appreciate the bi-partisan effort that went into the development of this law, and I'm pleased the trailer bill offers great clarification for the business community and their employees."
Working caregivers make tough choices in order to take care of a loved one, and urgently needed workplace flexibility. Sixty percent of caregivers 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, according to a national study.
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SOURCE AARP Illinois