retail clerk 021721AURORA – State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) will lead a subject matter hearing in the Senate Labor Committee today at 9 a.m. to learn more about the experiences of employers and employees with the Illinois Department of Employment Security in the last year.

The goal this week is to hear from employers and employees about their experiences with the unemployment system. The pandemic, during which more than 1 million Illinoisans lost their jobs, forced the creation of new unemployment programs for people who were not previously covered by the system, like gig workers and self-employed individuals. These new programs added tremendous strains on IDES, and as a result, many Illinoisans who expected to be covered by unemployment insurance struggled to access benefits. 

Holmes and a working group have been investigating the unemployment process since last year, listening to questions from colleagues and constituents about specific and ongoing issues. This hearing will give the senators serving on the Labor Committee an opportunity to hear the perspectives of business and labor.

This is part two of a two-part series of hearings on unemployment insurance issues since the pandemic began.

WHO: Chair Linda Holmes, Labor Committee members and representatives of the AFL-CIO, IRMA and the Shriver Center

WHAT: Senate Labor Committee

WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 9 a.m.

WHERE: To view virtual committee proceedings, visit and click "Watch Live Virtual Committee Video." The link will become available when proceedings begin. Blue Room Stream, a subscription-based service, will also stream the hearing.