Group urges Illinois lawmakers to enact 26 weeks of paid protected leave for workers

A group is pushing for the "Family Medical Leave Insurance Act" here in Illinois.

It would create a state-run insurance program that allows workers to use up to 26 weeks of paid protected leave every year.

After 30 years of unpaid family and medical leave for all workers, the group "Women Employed" is urging the Illinois General Assembly to pass a law that will provide workers with paid, job-protected leave to manage longer-term care needs for themselves and their families.


Eleven states and D.C. have already taken steps to provide workers with paid family and medical leave, and now the push is to get Illinois on board.

"No one should have to choose a paycheck over their health and the health of their family. The Shriver Center on poverty law is advocating for paid family and medical leave because we care about all workers in Illinois, but particularly those who face the biggest barriers. That's why we're focused on creating a level playing field for women workers with low wages, Black workers and Latinx workers, groups of workers who in many cases are not eligible for or cannot afford to take unpaid leave," said Wendy Pollack, Founder and Director of Women’s Law and Policy Initiative at Shriver Center.

Sixty-two percent of Illinois families cannot take a leave from work without risking their job and financial security.