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There may come a time where one of your family members gets sick. It could be a relative, a parent, a spouse, or even a child. Due to the severity of this illness, you start missing work. You worry that you need to be at work to help pay for the care of your loved one, but you may also need to be with them at all times. What are your options? Can you keep your job and care for your family member? 

You may qualify for federal or state sick leave. 

What is are the benefits of sick leave?

Recently, in April of 2021, Governor Pritzker signed a bill that amends the Employee Sick Leave Act (ESLA). Before only the federal Family Medical Leave Act could be used to care for ill family members. The amendment to the ESLA expands a worker’s options. It used to be that an individual could use their sick leave benefits for absences in regard to family members. Now, these benefits can be used for a family member’s ‘personal care’. Personal care entails basic needs, such as medical, hygiene, nutritional, and safety needs. Personal care may also fall under visiting a family member who has a serious health condition.

How does this affect you?

Employers in Cook County should already be familiar with the ordinances that the city of Chicago has released. Employees can use up to 40 hours of paid sick leave for a family member’s personal care. There is also an application for an extra 20 hours if it is qualifying for FMLA. However, if these are available to you, the state has just provided another avenue. Your employer should go over their current sick leave policies and see how it has changed due to the amendment to the ESLA.

If you believe that your benefits are not being given to you, please reach out to us at 
If you are curious if you qualify for an FMLA absence, please go to the Department of Labor website

Post Author: Tom