Women Employed’s 2019 Illinois Women’s Agenda

Women Employed is calling on Governor J.B. Pritzker to make working women a priority as he sets his policy agenda. We’ve opened the conversation with his transition team, and have prepared a set of ten legislative priorities that Women Employed is urging him to champion in his first year in office — measures that will help women advance economically, and allow more women to access the education and training they need to qualify for the jobs they want.

We’ve already claimed a victory! We won an increase to our state’s minimum wage. Illinois’s minimum wage will gradually grow to $15 by 2025 from the current $8.25. But we still have nine more priorities to accomplish, so keep reading…

  1. No Salary History (HB 834, SB 73) — Twice, Illinois legislators have passed a bill to strengthen the Illinois Equal Pay Act by banning employers from asking job candidates for their salary history, but Governor Rauner vetoed the law both times. We will be working with Governor Pritzker on No Salary History, to ensure it is passed and signed into law during his first year in office.
  2. Paid Sick Time (SB 1972)— Two years ago, we won paid sick time for working people in Chicago and Cook County. It’s time to expand that law statewide. We urge Governor Pritzker to back a bill that would allow workers — no matter the size of their employers — to earn paid sick time based upon the number of hours they work, to use for their own or a family member’s illness or medical appointment, for domestic or sexual violence, or for a public health emergency closure of a child’s school or care facility.
  3. Fair Scheduling — Too many working people — especially in low-paid industries — face unstable and unpredictable work schedules. When your hours change each week and you don’t know your schedule in advance, you can’t budget, plan child care, or get a second job. We recommend Governor Pritzker support a measure requiring employers to provide fair notice of scheduling, as well as compensation if hours are cut or added at the last minute — for all hourly workers and lower-paid salaried workers.
  4. Paid Family and Medical Leave (SB 1723)— Working people need paid leave to care for themselves and their families. We look forward to working with Governor Pritzker to develop a partial wage replacement bill for at least 12 weeks of paid family or medical leave per year that would be funded through payroll contributions.
  5. Close the Race Gap in Higher Education — Data show that there is an achievement gap for women of color in higher education in the state of Illinois. We call on Governor Pritzker to provide leadership for closing that gap and create the position of a Deputy Director for Racial Equity and Inclusion in higher education.
  6. Fully Fund the Monetary Award Program (MAP) — Low-income students in Illinois depend on MAP to be able to afford to get post-secondary degrees, and that is especially true for adult and working students. We’ll work with Governor Pritzker to ensure MAP is fully funded by asking for $501 million for the FY20 budget.
  7. Support DACA and Undocumented Students — We urge Governor Pritzker to back efforts to make DACA recipients and undocumented students eligible for state financial aid.
  8. Strengthen Protections Against Workplace Harassment (SB 1829)— Legal protections must ensure that all work is safe work, create greater transparency and accountability, and secure fair pay and treatment for those whose economic vulnerability puts them at greater risk of harassment and violence. Governor Pritzker can ensure that Illinois leads the way in protecting workers against sexual and all forms of harassment by advocating for protections such as an end to mandatory arbitration.
  9. Reduce Remediation for College Students — Students entering college face major hurdles when it comes to remedial courses. They are over-placed in remedial courses based on a single, often inaccurate measure, and then few students placed in remediation end up completing their programs. Colleges and universities need to consider more than a single test when placing students in remediation, and they need to put more students who may still be considered underprepared for college directly into college-level courses with academic supports. We’ll work with our partners on a bill to address these issues, and we urge Illinois legislators to support it.

Want to help us make this agenda a reality? Join our Action Network today, and we’ll send you timely emails with actions you can take to make a difference for working women!