East St. Louis Parent Leader Speaks to AP in Support of New Paid Leave Policy

A woman brushes her teeth while her daughter prepares to leave for school (AP photo)

“When Joan Van is sick, she doesn’t get paid.

The East St. Louis-area restaurant server and single mother of three said she works doubles to make up the money when she or one of her children gets sick.

‘You can’t let your kids see you break down because you’re tired and exhausted, ’cause you gotta keep pushing. You got to. And if you don’t, then who’s gonna do it?’ she said.

She may not have to for much longer. Expansive paid leave legislation requiring Illinois employers to give workers time off based on hours worked, to be used for any reason, is ready for action by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who said he will sign it.

“Van, a parent leader with Community Organizing and Family Issues said she has no paid leave until she has worked for one year. Knowing she will miss a day of pay when she or one of her kids gets sick is a constant stress for the Belleville mom, but guaranteed PTO ‘would be awesome,’ offering her peace of mind and alleviating some financial worries.”

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