- Published: 10 November 2015
SPRINGFIELD – As many state and federal workers prepare for a work holiday on Wednesday to support Veterans Day, many veterans do not have the option to take the day off created in their honor. Senator John G. Mulroe (D-Chicago) is looking to change that.
“Every year, men and women who fought hard for our country’s freedom are required to work a holiday that was created specifically to honor them,” Mulroe says. “That’s just not right, and I think that as a state Illinois can better serve the people who served in the armed forces.”
Under the new legislation, veterans would have the option of taking the November holiday off if they otherwise would have had to work, receiving paid leave. Their employers would need a documented request for the absence. Only Oregon and Iowa currently have similar laws; Minnesota and the U.S. Congress are currently considering similar measures.
“This proposal is a win-win situation, because it doesn’t require a veteran to take the day off, but empowers them through state statute to do so if they wish,” Mulroe says. “We are also looking to protect the employers by placing safeguards in, making this pro-veteran and pro-business.”
Employees who are veterans would not have to take the holiday off; however, they would be required to give 30 calendar days’ notice to their employer that they intend to take the time off and would be required to provide documentation to the employer that they are indeed a veteran.
If the employer would not be able to award the time off due to significant economic or operational disruption, the employer would need to notify the employee within 14 calendar days prior to the holiday and make a good faith effort to award an alternate paid vacation day. In addition, the legislation would create a tax credit for employers for 100 percent of wages paid.
The measure was introduced in the Senate on October 20.