Senator HastingsSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Frankfort) passed legislation through the Senate Wednesday that would allow airline employees to use earned sick time to care for loved ones.

“Forcing hard-working individuals to make a choice between their livelihood and their family is morally bankrupt,” Hastings said. “Numerous corporations throughout America have figured this out, and it is time airlines follow suit.”

Hastings was inspired to lead the measure by two constituents, both who are flight attendants for Southwest Airlines. Corliss King’s husband was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease in 2017 and was hospitalized several times, receiving various surgeries that left him in need of care at home. Corliss was able to use her own accrued sick time to help care for her husband and children until 2017 when a law was passed that removed coverage for airline employees.

Susan Lyons has a similar story. When her brother, a single father, suffered a heart attack, was pronounced dead, and revived but in a stable coma, Susan was forced to take unpaid FMLA leave, rather than use any of the 300+ sick hours she had accrued on the job. She lost over a month of income during the time she was caring for her brother and his child.

Under Senate Bill 645, these airline employees would be able to use earned sick time to care for sick family members.

“Last night I had the privilege of watching the Illinois Senate vote in favor of the amended Sick Leave Act,” King said. “Having lost my husband in 2020, this bill means so much to me. Being able to use sick time to care for my ill husband would have meant being able to spend more time with him. I am thankful for Senator Hastings’ dedication to me, my family, and my coworkers throughout this fight and look forward to moving it through the House.”

This legislation will now be considered before the House.