Effective April 27, 2021, Illinois has amended the state’s Employee Sick Leave Act (ESLA) which allows workers to use their sick leave for a family member’s “personal care.” Enacted in 2017, the ESLA requires Illinois employers to permit employees to use half of their annual accrued sick leave under an existing sick leave policy for absences related to the illness, injury, or medical appointment of certain family members.
Illinois does not require employers to provide paid sick leave. However, the ESLA allows employees to use any personal sick leave benefits their employers do provide for specific reasons related to the care of certain family members.
The amendment expanded the Act to permit workers to use personal sick leave for the “personal care” of a covered family member. “Personal care” means:
- Activities to ensure that a covered family member’s basic medical, hygiene, nutritional, or safety needs are met;
- Activities to provide transportation to medical appointments for a covered family member who is unable to meet those needs; and
- Being physically present to provide emotional support to a covered family member with a serious health condition who is receiving inpatient or home care.
The amendment defines “covered family member” as an employee’s child, stepchild, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent or stepparent.
Illinois employers should review their existing leave policies and procedures to ensure compliance with this change and ensure that human resources and supervisors are trained on what constitutes personal care.