Warehouse worker

Policy Changes Needed to Ensure a Thriving, Vibrant Workforce in Illinois

Shriver Center Makes Recommendations to Future of Work Task Force

Everyone should be paid decently and have basic workplace protections so that they can sustain themselves financially, be healthy, and be able to take care of their family. The Shriver Center, in partnership with several other advocacy organizations, has submitted recommendations to the Illinois Future of Work Task Force to ensure the well-being, health, and safety of all workers in the state.

All workers deserve an array of benefits that improve the quality of their jobs and their lives, including paid leave, retirement, life insurance, workers’ compensation, and health insurance. Yet over 1.5 million workers in Illinois, a disproportionate number of whom are Black, Latino/a/x, Native American, and Pacific Islander, have no access to even a single paid day of leave. Illinois should enact legislation to secure paid leave for all workers, and state law should serve as a floor, not a ceiling, for those benefits should local jurisdictions choose to improve upon them. Illinois should also enact legislation to create universal access to portable benefits, including but not limited to paid leave, retirement benefits, health insurance, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, and life insurance.

No working person should struggle to make ends meet. Yet several hundred thousand tipped workers in Illinois, many of whom are women working in restaurants, experience three times the poverty rate of other workers and the highest rates of sexual harassment. Illinois should eliminate the tipped subminimum wage now.

Workers and their families deserve safety and stability. But Illinois’ current at-will employment paradigm, combined with the growth of “gig” work like rideshare and delivery jobs, impedes job security and enables a culture of fear that prevents workers from improving their workplaces. The Secure Jobs Act would ensure job stability by implementing a “just cause” standard to prevent unjust and arbitrary termination.

Other issues addressed by the full recommendations include enforcement of worker protections; racial and gender equity in high-wage, high-road occupations; health and safety requirements; and investment to support the growth of high-quality jobs as well as worker education and training. The task force will issue a report based on its findings to the Illinois Governor and General Assembly in early summer 2022.

Read our recommendations to the Future of Work Task Force. 

More Information

Everyone should be paid decently and have basic workplace protections.

Systemic inequities and the legacy of structural racism make it harder for low-income people and people of color to achieve financial stability.

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