cpz 3129SPRINGFIELD— Prospective employees may soon have access to increased salary transparency from potential employers, thanks to a new measure led by State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago) and State Representative Mary Beth Canty (D-Arlington Heights).

“Wages and benefits determine how much food caregivers can bring to the table and if they can afford essential health care treatment and other necessary costs that determine a family’s quality of life,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “Transparency is essential to ensure employees are not misled when accepting a role with wages that cannot support them or their family.”

To ensure prospective employees have access to all information on their potential earnings and benefits when determining if they should accept a job, this initiative would require employers with 15 or more employees to publicly post the wage or salary and description of benefits offered for a job, promotion, transfer or other employment opportunity. It also requires employers to provide employees their current wage or salary range along with a general description of benefits upon that employee's hiring, promotion or transfer, upon the employee's request.

If an employer does not comply with the act, the Department of Labor would be allowed to conduct its own investigations or file complaints. Any individual who believes that an employer is in violation of the wage and salary provisions of the act would also be able to file a complaint with the Department within one year after the date the individual learned of the violation.

“When people are left in the dark, they can’t advocate for themselves. Pay secrecy keeps women, people of color and other marginalized groups at a disadvantage when they negotiate salaries, perpetuating the status quo of the gender and racial wage gaps,” said State Representative Mary Beth Canty (D-Arlington Heights). “This bill seeks to disrupt such inequality by informing prospective employees of the pay scales for open jobs so they can make educated decisions as they negotiate compensation.”

“Pay range transparency has become an increasingly important factor for jobseekers, and many employers are already moving in the direction of including pay ranges in job postings. At a time of significant and persistent labor challenges, including a pay range is one important step employers can take to build an immediate level of trust with prospective employees while working to attract and retain a diverse and qualified workforce,” said Brad Tietz, Vice President of Government Relations and Strategy for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “We thank Rep. Canty and Sen. Pacione-Zayas for working with us on this important measure which will provide the transparency workers are seeking without sacrificing the nuance and flexibility employers need when hiring.”

“We are so grateful to Rep. Canty and Sen. Pacione-Zayas for their leadership on HB 3129. This bill builds on previous legislation and represents the next step in Illinois’ commitment to pay equity and to closing the gender and racial wage gaps,” said Sarah Labadie, Director of Advocacy and Policy for Women Employed. “Pay transparency helps to reduce pay inequities from the beginning of employment, so that they don’t continue through a person’s career. Fair pay practices make economic sense, helping Illinois businesses attract and retain talent, and saving everyone time and money in hiring — a win for workers and business!”

House Bill 3129 passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly and now awaits consideration by the governor.

Category: Press Releases

CPZ PhotoEOSSPRINGFIELD – Freelance workers may soon have legal protections requiring them to be paid in a timely manner and transparency measures that are designed to ensure fair labor practices, thanks to an initiative sponsored by State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas.

“Freelance workers deserve the same dignity other workers receive, including being offered the basic respect of timely compensation for their labor,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “This measure would ensure all workers are paid what they are owed quickly so they can support themselves and their loved ones.”

Freelance workers are people hired as independent contractors to provide products or services for a contracting entity, earning at least $500 for their labor. Because they have a different contract than salaried or hourly workers, the entities that hire them are not held to the same legal requirements as with other employees. This has led to many freelance workers being paid much later for their work than they had been promised, as well as being offered to take a pay cut to get any wages for their labor sooner.

Too often, when disputes over pay arises, freelancers don’t have the time or resources to litigate a payment and go unpaid. According to a 2019 study, 74% of freelancers have reported experiencing late or non-payment, and freelancers lose, on average, $5,968 a year to wage theft.

House Bill 1122, or the Freelance Worker Protection Act, would require contracting entities to pay freelance workers according to the terms stated in their contract. If no such terms exist, then payment shall occur no later than 30 days after they fulfill their obligations under a contract. The contracting entity would also be prohibited from asking freelancers to accept less pay in exchange for being compensated quicker.

Additionally, the initiative would give the Illinois Department of Labor the authority to create new rules on the formation of freelance labor contracts and facilitate an organized complaint procedure to resolve disputes between aggrieved freelance workers and contracting entities It would also require IDOL to create and distribute free model contracts so that freelancers and contracting entities can model their own practice on IDOL-approved examples.

“Freelance workers are workers, entitled to full payment for their work,” said State Representative Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago). “Considering the majority of freelancers report that they live ‘paycheck to paycheck,’ we need these statutory protections to help people stay afloat.”

"There are more freelancers than ever, doing work that is increasingly vital to the economy. But these workers lack basic protections ensuring that they are paid fairly and on time for their labor. We are excited to see Illinois lead on this issue by advancing the Freelance Worker Protection Act," said Eric Thurm, campaign coordinator at the National Writers Union and a member of the steering committee of the Freelance Solidarity Project. "We are grateful to Senator Pacione-Zayas and our House sponsor Representative Guzzardi for championing this bill. Their fight in support of FWPA will help set national standards for how hundreds of thousands of freelancers are treated, and begin to ensure that these workers get the respect and support they deserve."

House Bill 1122 passed the Senate on Thursday.

Category: Press Releases

cpz 3822SPRINGFIELD – Dual language education may soon be more accessible to Illinois students, thanks to a new measure sponsored by State Senator Cristina H. Pacione-Zayas.

“Dual language instruction can be transformative for a student, expanding their future career opportunities and strengthening their connection to their culture and develop a global view,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “Improving our dual language offerings will help young people become more well-rounded and have a better understanding of themselves and the world.”

Currently, Illinois supports bilingual education programs by maintaining an advisory council on bilingual education, which reports to the Illinois State Board of Education. However, this council is only required to provide recommendations to best support students and families participating in ESL, or English as a Second Language. While these recommendations are important, this council could use its insights — as  an important table of academics with expertise in various programs of bilingual education — to also  study dual language instruction across the state and provide recommendations on how to support these programs.

House Bill 3822 would require the Illinois Advisory Council on Bilingual Education to issue a report to the General Assembly on how to incentivize, improve and expand dual language instruction in schools. The report will include recommendations for expanding dual language programs and instruction, a strategic plan for scaling these programs, planning to build the supply of qualified teachers, and establishing standards for measuring student progress. This report can then be implemented to increase sustainable dual language education programs throughout the state.

“We know that bilingualism is a valuable asset in today’s global society,” said State Representative Abdelnasser Rashid (D-Bridgeview), who introduced the initiative in the House. “This bill will help build a path for all students to have access to high-quality dual language programs, which benefit their academic achievement, enhance cultural preservation, and prepares students for success in the workforce.”

House Bill 3822 passed the Senate on Thursday.

Category: Press Releases

2037 cpzSPRINGFIELD – In collaboration with the 20th District Housing Policy Roundtable, a new initiative led by State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas that would foster the study of  community land trusts, or non-profit organizations offering alternative options for homeownership and affordable housing, has passed the Senate and is under consideration in the House, putting it one step closer to becoming law. 

“While residents of present community land trusts have seen their positive impact, we have not been able to fully measure the net benefits these organizations have had on folks facing inaccessible housing and gentrification,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “This task force will provide concrete evidence for how community land trusts help those experiencing housing insecurity and displacement will inform more cities and towns the benefits for communities that adopt these programs. The hope is we can grow and support these programs using data, findings, and best practices of current land trusts to add another option for affordable housing in our state.” 

Community land trusts (CLTs) are nonprofit organizations focused on creating homes that remain permanently affordable, providing successful homeownership opportunities for generations of families with limited access to economic resources. Families or individuals buy a house but lease the land the house is on from the CLT in a long-term renewable lease that keeps the home at an affordable price. While these trusts have provided many people with access to affordable housing, this Task Force will give the state the information it needs to truly leverage CLTs as an effective strategy for preserving long-term affordable housing.

Senate Bill 2037 would create a task force made up of representatives from community land trusts, professors and education specialists in housing, and elected officials to collect data regarding the current use of community land trusts in Illinois and opportunities for expansion statewide. The Task Force will also study the tools needed to maximize the impact of CLTs on housing affordability, stability, and closing the racial wealth gap. The goal is to gather directives and best practices that ensure the programs can maximize their impact.  After a year of research, the task force will submit a final report with specific legislative and budget recommendations to the governor and General Assembly by Dec. 31, 2024. 

“A community land trust task force will help us identify opportunities to create affordable homeownership in diverse markets, create opportunities for generational wealth, close racial wealth gaps and complement the state’s portfolio of affordable housing strategies with the potential to save the state money." said Christian Diaz from Palenque LSNA, a community-based organization building power for education, immigration, and housing equity, particularly in the Avondale, Hermosa, and Logan Square neighborhoods of Chicago.

“As part of a community that has been hit hard by gentrification, I know firsthand how disruptive it can be to families and communities that have been part of our neighborhoods for decades,” Pacione-Zayas said. “This initiative will record the positive impact of community land trusts for increasing affordable housing and will hopefully inspire more neighborhoods to adopt this system to combat gentrification and allow more Illinoisians to stay wherever they call home.” 

Senate Bill 2037 passed the Senate on March 29. It now goes to the Housing Committee in the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

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