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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Under current Illinois law, parents whose child dies are only guaranteed two weeks of bereavement leave. But advocates say that’s not long enough.
A new bill progressing through the Capitol would extend the length of time parents can take off work for bereavement leave if their child dies by homicide or suicide.
The proposed bereavement leave policy would require companies to allow 12 weeks of unpaid leave for businesses with more than 250 employees, or six weeks for businesses for fewer than 250 employees. Any employer found violating the bill could also face penalties.
“My heart goes out to all of those who have ever grieved over the unthinkable happening and had to bear the loss of their child,” Sen. Karina Villa (D-West Chicago), the Senate sponsor of the bill said. “This legislation attempts to offer support to families who are grieving by allowing them the proper time to themselves after a loss.”
The Illinois Department of Labor, Illinois Department of Central Management Services, and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce all have a neutral stance on the bill.
“Loss and grief have no right answer or solution; however, my hope is this bill will provide individuals with some relief knowing they do not have to worry about losing their jobs when focusing on their families,” Villa said.
The bill passed the Senate with bipartisan support and will head to the House of Representatives.
Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts or a different mental health crisis can call or text the 988 Suicide and Crisis hotline at 9-8-8.