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Hutchinson advances paid sick time proposal in Senate

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SPRINGFIELD – Currently, nearly 45 percent of private sector workers in Illinois do not receive a single paid sick day. For these workers, it can only take one life event, whether it be a car accident, a sick child or a family emergency, to cause long-term financial pain and in some cases even job loss.

In response to this reality, State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) passed a proposal out of the Senate Labor Committee this morning that would make Illinois the eighth state in the nation to require some form of paid sick time.

“Nearly every industrialized country acknowledges that a healthier workforce is better for families and businesses alike,” Hutchinson said. “With increased inaction in Washington, it is important now more than ever for states like Illinois to step up and advance common-sense policies that protect families.”

Hutchinson’s plan, contained in Senate Bill 1296, would provide up to five paid sick days per year to full-time and part-time employees, accruing an hour at a time for every 40 hours worked. While the proposal would greatly benefit workers currently without paid sick leave, businesses would also benefit.

Numerous studies have shown the direct benefit offering workers paid sick leave has on employers, including a workforce that is overall healthier and more productive. A lack of paid sick time is even a public health concern.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the norovirus is the leading cause of illness and outbreaks from contaminated food in the United States. A majority of these outbreaks occur from restaurants when sick workers handle food and beverages and infect their customers.

“Under this plan, employers would have more productive workers with reduced transmission of disease and reduced turnover,” said Wendy Pollack, Director of the Women’s Law and Policy Project at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. 

Senate Bill 1296 passed the Senate Labor Committee today and now heads to the Senate floor for further debate.