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The House votes to condemn President Trump’s attacks on women of color in Congress as racist. Also on our Wednesday rundown: A new report forecasts big losses for some states if the ACA is repealed. And a corporate call to flex muscle to close the gender pay gap.

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New Law Will Reduce Burden on Illinois Caregivers

Advocates are praising a new family sick-leave law that will take effect in Illinois in January. (
Advocates are praising a new family sick-leave law that will take effect in Illinois in January. (
October 7, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – More than 1.5 million people in Illinois are caregivers for family members, and a new law that goes into effect at the first of the year will help them balance their personal life, work, and responsibilities that come with helping a sick or elderly relative.

The Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act allows someone with employer-provided time off to use that to care for a family member.

AARP Illinois worked to get the legislation approved and applauds the bipartisan support it received. The Associate State Director of Advocacy and Outreach for AARP Illinois, Lori Hendren, said the family dynamics have changed over the years and most adults work, leaving no one at home to take care of someone who becomes ill.

"Your 30s, your 40s, your early 50s, you may not think you're going to be a family caregiver," she said. "You take care of your child or your spouse but then, the conditions change and you may be taking care of multiple members, a father-in-law, a mother-in-law, even a grandparent who may be alive, or even a grandchild."

According to AARP, 60 percent of caregivers in the United States are working, and nearly all of them have full-time jobs. Its research indicates six in 10 say their caregiving responsibilities have compelled them to either cut back on hours, change jobs or quit altogether.

The law allows employees to use up to six months of accrued sick leave, and Hendren said this provides much-needed flexibility to those in the so-called "sandwich" generation.

"You have people who are trying to balance it all," she added. "This just helps them get one of those stresses, we hope, off their shoulders. They're able to continue working, they're able to continue their career and provide for their family, and now be able to give a little bit more time to that loved one."

Four other states (California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oregon), the District of Columbia, plus one county and 19 cities across the country have laws that guarantee workers the right to earn and use paid sick days. Most of the new laws have been adopted within the last three years.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IL