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Senate Democrats join coalition to improve lives of Illinois women (VIDEO)

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Senators Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) and Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) joined members from the Illinois Women Moving Forward coalition yesterday to talk about a legislative agenda that includes women’s equality, economic security and justice.

Senator Bush discussed her proposal that would make it illegal for hair salons, barbers, dry cleaners and tailors to discriminate, with respect to the price charged for services of similar kind, against a person because of their gender.

“Too often women are charged more than men for the same services, while at the same time being paid less for doing the same job. This is unacceptable.” Bush said. “Preventing this unfair business practice will move Illinois another step forward in achieving economic equality for women.”

With nearly 45 percent of private sector workers in Illinois unable to access a single paid sick day, Senator Hutchinson discussed her push to make Illinois the sixth state in the nation to require some form of paid sick time.

"At the end of the day, you should never have to choose between being sick and taking care of yourself or someone that you have the responsibility to take care of,” Hutchinson said. “It is a basic matter of fairness.”

While the federal Family & Medical Leave Act allows workers to take leave, not all employers continue paying those workers while they are off. An effort to ensure workers continue to get paid for a number of weeks and at least a meaningful portion of their salary while on leave for events like the birth or adoption of a child or recovery from a serious illness or injury.

“Our nation is really unique among prosperous industrialized nations in not allowing for paid family and medical leave,” Biss said. “One thing that would allow our economy to grow would be to enable parents to work in a way that is not cruel or barbaric and consistent with having healthy, loving, strong and stable families.”