National labor-law publication highlights Illinois legislation

After confusing elements were discovered in the text of the Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act, prompt action was necessary to research the problem, hear from affected workers and employers, and draft legal language to clean up the new Act. SB 2799, sponsored in the House by Rep. Peter Breen, tightens up the definitions of “personal sick leave benefits,” the key legal term used in the Act to set off the benefits that an employee is allowed to use to provide care and companionship to a close family member. The Act, as amended, allows some Illinois employees – employees with personal sick leave benefits – to use some of these employment-related benefits when a parent, spouse, child, stepchild, or other defined type of relative or family members becomes ill or suffers a health crisis. The Act became effective on January 1, 2017, so prompt action was necessary to clean up concerns about the new law.

Although SB 2799 is officially a Senate bill, the key language of the January 2017 measure was added in the House by an amendment authored by the chief House sponsor, Rep. Peter Breen. After the House unanimously approved the amendment by a bipartisan vote of 113-0-0, the Senate then approved the House amendment by concurrence. Governor Rauner’s approval of the measure made it law as P.A. 99-921. Bills of this sort, that create needed fixes to the legislative language of complex new laws, are often called ‘trailer bills” or “cleanup bills.” This week, the National Law Review noted the passage of P.A. 99-921 and the importance of the trailer bill to Illinois employment and labor law.

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