Fine’s Bill Supports Employees with Mental Health or Substance Abuse Disorders

SPRINGFIELD — To encourage employers to hire people in recovery from mental health or substance abuse disorders, State Sen. Laura Fine (D-Glenview) introduced a bill providing eligible employers with tax credits for hiring and retaining employees with these conditions.

“Too often, hard-working, experienced employees are fired because of a mental health or addiction disorder,” said Senator Fine. “This bill will encourage employers to give qualified applicants in recovery and well-being a chance to succeed.”

Stigma around mental health and addiction disorders can deter employers from hiring candidates who disclose their mental health issues. This disproportionately affects people of color and women who suffer from mental health conditions. This can prevent people with mental health conditions from gaining stable employment, which affects their financial stability and ability to receive needed care.

This legislation would incentivize employers to hire and retain mentally ill employees by providing tax credits of up to $2,000 for each employee hired and retained per year. Senator Fine hopes this initiative will allow more people in recovery to find stable employment and disclose their troubles to their superiors without judgement.

“People with mental health issues can lead successful lives,” said Senator Fine. “This bill will ensure that people with substance abuse or mental illness are not excluded from employment opportunities because of their medical condition, but rather are supported by their colleagues in the workplace.

SB 3882 passed the Senate on Thursday. It is now sent back to the House for further consideration.

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