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Zachary's Parent Protection Act

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

State Rep. Maurice West’s Statement on Bill Signing of “Zachary's Parent Protection” Providing Leave for Parents Who Experience the Loss of a Child to Suicide or Homicide




ROCKFORD, Ill. – Today, Gov. JB Pritzker signed Zachary's Parent Protection Act (SB2034), legislation that will require employers to provide additional unpaid leave for parents who experience the sudden loss of a child by suicide or homicide. 


Under the legislation, employees of large employers are entitled to use a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave and employees of small employers are entitled to use a maximum of 6 weeks of unpaid leave. Currently, parents are only entitled to use a maximum of 2 weeks (10 work days) of unpaid bereavement leave after the loss of a child.


“The loss of a child is an unimaginable tragedy. Amid the pain and suffering that follows, no parent should be forced to choose between their grief and their employment,” said State Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford), chief sponsor of Zachary’s Parent Protection Act. “Parents who lose a child to suicide or homicide deserve a respect and patience from their employers as they cope with their trauma and grief. Zachary’s Parent Protection Act will extend the amount of leave parents can use in these situations, which will hopefully provide some small measure of relief in the immediate aftermath of such a tragic event. I extend my sincerest gratitude to Laura Kane, Zachary’s mother, for her tireless efforts to pass this critical legislation, and I thank Gov. Pritzker for signing this bill.” 


The bill passed the Illinois House of Representatives by a vote of 81 to 24 and the Illinois Senate by a vote of 42 to 10. More information can be found here.


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