Since the inception of the current employment system, there has been a constant struggle to provide the proper balance of protections for workers verses protections for business owners. What services should employers offer their employees, and should they be legally required to do so? An employment law attorney in Illinois knows this question is commonly asked in states across the nation. Illinois residents are asking it again with a proposed bill on sick leave that is currently under consideration.
What is sick leave?
Sick leave is designed to give workers the chance to keep their jobs and receive pay while they recuperate from an illness. It can range from a few days of pay to a few weeks each year, depending on an employer’s offerings. While it is common for employers to offer the leave for its workers, no laws are currently in place in Illinois requiring the practice. Illinois lawmakers are hopeful that the proposed bill would provide access to sick time for over one million residents in the state.
The proposed bill
The aim of the currently proposed bill is to keep sick workers at home. In many cases, workers must choose between getting well and earning the income they need in order to survive. When faced with this choice, most employees choose to work for as long as they possibly can. However, when sick workers continue working, it can contribute to the spread of communicable disease and a steep drop in productivity.
To prevent this and allow workers the time they need in order to heal without fear of the financial consequences, Illinois lawmakers have come up with the Healthy Workplace Act. MyStateLine.com reports that under the proposed act, employees would be legally required to offer workers at least seven paid sick days each year. The sick time would depend on the amount of work each worker performs: for every 30 hours spent working, employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave. The laws would apply to both the public and private sectors, with no business or organizational exceptions. Businesses who fail to follow the law would be fined.
Proponents of the bill are hopeful that it can have a lasting positive effect on workers and the Illinois economy. They argue that sick leave will allow ill workers to recuperate more quickly while improving both work ethic and results. An employment law attorney in Illinois understands that healthy workers are more productive, and businesses could see an increase in productivity when workers are not merely showing up and performing at the most basic level in order to simply get by.
Those who would like more information about this law and its potential effects should contact an employment law attorney in Illinois.