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 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 several victories in 2019, including:

  1. Raise the Minimum Wage (SB 1) — Gradually raises the minimum wage from the current $8.25/hour to $15/hour by 2025. PASSED ON FEBRUARY 7TH, SIGNED ON FEBRUARY 19TH.
  2. 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. PASSED ON MAY 29TH, SIGNED ON JULY 31ST.
  3. 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. BUDGET INCLUDES A $50 MILLION INCREASE IN MAP FUNDING.
  4. Support Undocumented Students (HB 2691)— We urge Governor Pritzker to back efforts to make undocumented students eligible for state financial aid, including MAP grants. PASSED ON MAY 8TH, SIGNED ON JUNE 24TH.
  5. Strengthen Protections Against Workplace Harassment (SB 75)— 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. PASSED ON JUNE 2ND, SIGNED ON AUGUST 9TH.
  6. Reduce Remediation for Students (SJR 41) — 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. PASSED ON MAY 31ST.
  7. Make Taxes Fair: Step One (SJRCA 1)— A graduated income tax will ensure the wealthy pay their fair share and help Illinois support critical programs and services. PASSED ON MAY 27TH.

And there’s still work to do. Here’s what’s still on our agenda for Illinois women and families:

  1. Make Taxes Fair: Step Two — We’re not done yet in making sure the wealthy pay their fair share. In November 2020, voters will get to decide if we want to change the Illinois constitution to allow for a fair income tax.
  2. Paid Sick Time (SB 471 Amendment 1) — 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. ANTICIPATING VETO SESSION PASSAGE.
  3. Close the Racial Achievement Gap in Higher EducationData 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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!



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Women Employed

WE relentlessly pursue equity for women in the workforce by effecting policy change, expanding access to education, & advocating for fair, inclusive workplaces.