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Heather Jones

Several updates to Illinois employment law will take effect on January 1, 2023. If you are an employee in Illinois who wants to know more about what your Illinois employer is required to provide by law, you should read this article. Illinois is enacting changes to required rest breaks, meal breaks, and how a work period is calculated. Illinois also has new updates for bereavement leave, expanding the number of situations covered for unpaid leave. Additionally, a new amendment in the Illinois Human Rights Act will take effect on January 1, 2023. Read on to learn more about what Illinois employees can expect in 2023.  




Illinois has a set of laws referred to as ODRISA, which is an acronym for "one day rest in seven act." There will be several updates to ODRISA for next year. On January 1, 2023, Illinois will require its employers to provide the following:  


Day of Rest: Starting on January 1, 2023, employers are required by law to allow their employees 24 consecutive hours of rest every calendar week. That means that there must be one full 24-hour rest period for every consecutive seven-day period. The previous requirement was that an employee gets 24-hour rest in a calendar week; now, it is updated to be every seven consecutive days. This new amendment will not apply to part-time employees working 20 hours or less weekly. It will also not apply to executives, outside salespeople, or administrative staff.  


Required meal periods: The current version of ODRISA requires that employers must provide their employees with a mandatory meal period. The rule states that for every 7.5 hours an Illinois employee is working, they must have a mandatory 20-minute meal period. The mandatory meal period must be taken at most five hours into the employee's shift. When the new rule takes effect on the first of the year, employers will be required by the law to provide an additional 20-minute meal period for each additional 4.5 hours worked. For example, if you work a 12 hours shift, your employer must give you two 20-minute meal breaks during your shift.  Check out updates to employment law in Illinois in our article, Illinois Employment Law Changes For 2022.  


Penalties For Noncompliance With The New Amendments:


The employers will be required to post a notice in a visible area informing employees of the new rest requirements. Failure by the employer to adhere to the new rest requirements will mean financial penalties for the employer. Each offense will be treated separately, and the fine will be:  


Less than 25 employees – not to exceed $250 per offense  

25 or more employees – not to exceed $500 per offense  


Each week there is a violation, it will be treated as a separate offense. The fine will be paid to the employee who was the victim of the violation. The previous act only allowed for $25-$100 fines for violations, the hope is with increased fines there will be fewer violations.  


Employees sitting at a table discussing family leave

The Family Bereavement Leave Act:


In June 2022, the Family Bereavement Leave Act was signed into law and took effect on January 1, 2023. The act expands unpaid bereavement leave to cover additional covered family members if an employee has suffered the loss of a loved one. The act follows the child Bereavement Leave Act that allowed for ten days of unpaid bereavement leave but was only for children. The new act allows for ten days of unpaid bereavement leave for these additional family members:  


  • Stepchildren  
  • Stepparents  
  • Spouse  
  • Domestic partner  
  • Sibling  
  • Parent  
  • Mother or father in law  
  • Grandchildren  
  • Grandparents  


The act is also offering ten days of unpaid leave for people who have suffered from the following:  


  • A miscarriage  
  • Failed artificial insemination procedure  
  • Failed adoption or adoption that is being contested  
  • Failed surrogacy agreement  
  • Any diagnosis that impacts pregnancy or fertility  
  • Stillbirth  


Illinois Human Rights Act Amendment


This amendment will also take effect on January 1, 2023, and expands the protections of the previous version of the act. As of the first of the year, the act will also protect against discrimination stemming from wearing protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, twists, or other hairstyles commonly associated with race.  For more information read our article, Illinois Employment Discrimination Laws Explained.  


The following updates are good news regarding how the State of Illinois is expanding protections for its working citizens. If you or a loved one experience problems at work after these new amendments take effect or if you believe your employer has violated existing law and you need advice, feel free to call O'Flaherty Law; we would be happy to help you.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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