‘Zachary’s Parent Protection Act’ close to becoming an Illinois law

Supporters of the bill say parents who suffer child loss should not have to choose between grief and employment.
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Published: May. 19, 2023 at 5:22 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WIFR) - Legislation passes the Illinois General Assembly requiring employers to provide additional unpaid leave to parents after losing a child by suicide or homicide.

Zachary’s Parent Protection Act (SB2034), entitles up to six weeks of unpaid leave for small business employees and up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for employees of large businesses in the case of child loss. Currently, parents are only entitled to use up to 10 work days of unpaid bereavement leave.

“This bill is written in memory of my son Zachary, and it is my way to honor the many survivor parents I have met in this journey, and for that, I am grateful,” Laura Kane said, executive director of Marshmallow’s HOPE and creator of the bill. “This bill will give families the job protection they deserve during this type of crisis.”

Kane was let go from her employer following the sudden loss of her son.

“The pain and suffering experienced by parents who lose a child is unimaginable, and no one should be forced to choose between their grief and their employment in their darkest hours,” State Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford) said.

The bill passed the Illinois House of Representatives with a 81 to 24 vote and the Illinois Senate with a 42 to 10 vote. Now, the legislation moves to Gov. JB Pritzker for his signature before being enacted into law.