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Kevin O'Flaherty

As 2024 dawns, we welcome not only a new year but also a transformative era for workers in Illinois. With the enactment of the Illinois Labor Law 2024, the working landscape is evolving, promising a more equitable, inclusive, and empowering work environment. From comprehensive paid leave to enhanced rights for temporary and freelance workers, the new regulations are set to revolutionize the way we work.

Navigating the New Paid Leave Landscape in Illinois

As we welcome a new year, Illinois employers are faced with the task of understanding the revamped paid leave landscape, the Illinois minimum wage law, and the Illinois wage payment regulations. The Workers Act has been instrumental in reshaping paid leave in Illinois, establishing a minimum of 40 hours of paid leave for nearly all workers in the state.

We will explore the details of these substantial modifications, ranging from comprehensive paid leave to improved sick leave ordinances.

Comprehensive Paid Leave for Employees

The cornerstone of the new legislation is the Comprehensive Paid Leave for Employees. After completing a minimum of 90 days of employment, all employees in Illinois are eligible for 40 hours of paid time off per 12-month period. From January 1, 2024, private employers are required to provide up to 40 hours of paid leave ‘for any reason’ within a 12-month timeframe.

The legislation sets a more expansive standard by mandating employers to offer up to 40 hours of paid leave to employees annually, a requirement that is not widely adopted in other states. The implications are far-reaching. For the first time, employees can enjoy:

  • Coverage for their personal and family needs
  • Accumulation of paid leave for every 40 hours worked
  • The freedom to utilize the paid leave for a range of purposes such as sick leave, childcare, mental health, and medical appointments.

Enhanced Sick Leave Ordinances

While the state-level changes are monumental in their own right, we also see significant shifts at the municipal level. The sick leave ordinances in Cook County and Chicago mandate that employers provide paid sick leave, reflecting a progressive stance at the municipal level in the United States. Specifically, Chicago’s sick leave policy enables employees who work a minimum of 80 hours for an employer within any 120-day period to accumulate up to 40 hours of paid sick leave, providing all workers with up to five days of paid time off and five days of sick leave.

To ease the adaptation process for employers, Chicago has rolled out a ‘trailer ordinance,’ providing them with additional time and flexibility. This ordinance affords a six-month period for understanding, preparing, and implementing the new law. Simultaneously, Cook County has implemented a substantial policy change from its previous Earned Sick Leave Ordinance, allowing employees to utilize paid leave for any purpose without the requirement of providing documentation after December 31.

Paid Time Off Adjustments for Specific Circumstances

In addition to the generalized provisions for paid leave, the new legislation also considers specific circumstances and unpaid leave options. Provisions for child bereavement leave, organ donation leave, and amendments to the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act have been made to ensure a more compassionate approach to employee circumstances.

Full-time employees in Illinois are eligible for the following types of leave:

  1. Child bereavement leave: Employees who have completed at least 2 weeks of work for their employer can take this leave.
  2. Employee Blood and Organ Donation Leave: Eligible employees can take up to 10 days of paid leave within a 12-month period for donating organs or tissue.
  3. VESSA leave: Recent amendments to the Illinois Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act introduce three new qualifying reasons for VESSA leave, one of which is violent crime bereavement.

Empowering Temporary Workers with Revised Regulations

Illustration of temporary workers in a diverse workplace

While permanent employees see significant improvements in their rights and benefits, temporary workers haven’t been left behind. The revised regulations aim to empower temporary workers by equalizing pay and benefits, ensuring advance notice and safety training, and strengthening enforcement with expanded penalties.

Equalizing Pay and Benefits

In an encouraging step towards pay equity, the new legislation includes the following provisions:

  • Temporary workers assigned to a third-party client for over 90 days must receive equal pay for equal work
  • Enhanced equal pay protections are in place
  • Additional job posting requirements for employers

This stipulation mandates temporary labor service agencies to compensate temporary workers, who are assigned to a third-party client for over 90 days, at par with the lowest-paid comparable direct-hire employee at the client’s location. The term ‘comparable direct-hire employee’ refers to direct employees of a company who perform similar work to that of temporary laborers and are considered the benchmark for the ‘equal pay for equal work’ provision stipulated by the amended Day and Temporary Labor Services Act.

Ensuring Advance Notice and Safety Training

In an effort to ensure safer workplaces and comply with the Illinois Child Labor Law, the Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services Act, enforced by the Illinois Department, requires labor service agencies to provide general awareness safety training to temporary workers within three business days of their assignment, covering industry-specific hazards.

Temporary labor service agencies are required to give temporary workers advance notice of any strike, lockout, or other labor issues at a third-party client where the worker is assigned. Workers also have the right to refuse the assignment without it affecting their chances of receiving another assignment.

Before work begins, it falls on the third-party client to:

  1. Verify that temporary workers have been adequately trained on the site’s safety hazards.
  2. If a temporary worker encounters new hazards during their assignment, the third-party client is responsible for informing both the temporary labor service agency and the temporary worker about the new hazards.
  3. Provide the temporary worker with any necessary specific safety training and personal protective equipment related to the new hazards.

Strengthening Enforcement with Expanded Penalties

The revised regulations also include robust measures to ensure compliance. Enforcement has been bolstered through the implementation of increased penalties and the introduction of a new right of action for concerned parties to take legal action against temporary labor service agencies and third-party clients.

The recently established legal entitlement under the revised Day and Temporary Labor Services Act (DTLS) enables any broadly defined ‘interested party’ to bring a lawsuit against temporary labor service agencies and their third-party clients. This expansion significantly broadens the scope of penalties and enhances enforcement capabilities. The penalties for non-compliance are steep, with fines ranging from $100 to $18,000 for initial violations. Repeat violations can result in even more substantial penalties.

Illinois Employers' Obligations: From Job Postings to Commuter Benefits

Photo of a job posting board

With the new era of labor law, come new obligations for Illinois employers. From increased transparency in job posting requirements to offering pre-tax commuter benefits, employers will need to navigate a new landscape of responsibilities.

Transparency in Job Posting Requirements

Starting from January 1, 2025, Illinois employers with 15 or more employees must incorporate pay scale and benefits information in their job postings. This mandate applies to all job postings released after the mentioned date.

This move towards greater transparency in minimum wage means that:

  • Job seekers will be better informed about potential compensation before applying for a job, enabling them to make more informed decisions.
  • Employers will need to be more deliberate in their compensation structures and ensure they are offering competitive packages to attract the best talent.
  • Non-compliance with these requirements may result in penalties ranging from $500 to $10,000 per violation, depending on the number of offenses.

Pre-Tax Commuter Benefit Compliance

Another significant change for employers in Illinois is the requirement to offer pre-tax commuter benefits. Employers with 50 or more ‘covered employees’ in Cook County and 37 surrounding townships must offer pre-tax commuter benefits effective from January 1, 2024.

This initiative enables covered employees to utilize pre-tax funds for purchasing transit passes through payroll deduction, presenting a means to reduce commuting costs. To comply, employers must:

  • Extend this benefit to employees who have a minimum of 120 days of service.
  • Make it available to all full-time employees, defined as those averaging a minimum of 35 hours per week.
  • Allow employees to buy transit passes with pre-tax funds via payroll deduction.

Extending Protections: Gender Violence and Freelance Workers

Illustration of gender-related violence awareness in the workplace

While the changes we’ve discussed so far are significant, they are not the only ones.

The Illinois Labor Law 2024 broadens its protective umbrella to include victims of gender violence and freelance workers, groups that are often neglected in labor law protections.

Employer Liability for Gender-Related Violence

The Illinois Gender Violence Act, in conjunction with the Illinois Equal Pay Act, has been revised to hold employers accountable for gender-related violence committed by their employees or representatives in the workplace.

This change means that victims of gender-related violence, such as physical aggression, intrusions, or sex discrimination, can now take legal action against the perpetrator and their employer if the violence occurred in the workplace and was carried out by an employee or representative of the employer. Employers found guilty of such offenses could face significant legal and financial repercussions.

This development amplifies the necessity for employers to cultivate a workplace environment that is safe, inclusive, and devoid of gender-related violence.

Establishing Rights for Freelance Workers

Freelance workers, often overlooked in labor laws, now enjoy new rights and protections under the Freelance Worker Protection Act (FWPA). The FWPA mandates that freelance workers and hiring parties must execute written contracts containing specific information. The hiring entity is obligated to preserve the contract for a minimum of two years and furnish a copy of the contract to the freelance worker. Furthermore, the act prohibits various forms of discrimination, such as threats, intimidation, discipline, harassment, and retaliation.

Failing to provide prompt payment to freelance workers can result in penalties, including the worker being eligible to recover double the underpaid amount, in addition to attorney’s fees and costs.

Modernizing Workplace Standards: Personnel Records and Labor Disputes

Photo of a personnel records filing cabinet

The final piece of the labor law puzzle involves modernizing workplace standards. This includes enhanced access to personnel records, and limitations and penalties in labor disputes.

Enhanced Access to Personnel Records

Recent modifications have afforded Illinois employees better access to their personnel records. Employers must now comply with at least 2 requests per calendar year from both current and former employees wishing to inspect their personnel files. Furthermore, employers are mandated to furnish copies of personnel records upon request.

Such access promotes:

  • Transparency
  • Facilitates dispute resolution
  • Supports career development
  • Aids in verifying compliance with labor laws
  • Empowers employees with greater control over their employment information

Failure to comply with these access obligations could potentially incur civil penalties of $25 per day, with a maximum of $500, for each day of non-compliance.

Limitations and Penalties in Labor Disputes

Amendments to the Illinois Labor Dispute Act have broadened protections for workers on strike and introduced penalties for disrupting labor disputes. These amendments include:

  • Limitations on the types of relief that courts can grant in relation to labor disputes
  • Prohibition of injunctions against peaceful picketers
  • Restrictions on state courts’ ability to award monetary damages in connection with labor disputes, thereby limiting their intervention in such matters.

Additionally, any action that interferes with, obstructs, or impedes a picket or other demonstration is deemed a Class A misdemeanor, carrying a minimum fine of $500 as punishment.


From sweeping changes in paid leave to greater protections for temporary and freelance workers, the Illinois Labor Law 2024 marks a new era for workers. While the upcoming changes may initially seem daunting, they ultimately aim to create a more equitable, inclusive, and empowering work environment. As we step into this new era, let’s embrace these changes and work together to create a better future for Illinois workers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the new labor laws in Illinois 2024?

In 2024, new labor laws in Illinois will include an increase in the minimum wage to $14 and a new minimum wage of $8.40 for tipped workers. This will also see an hourly increase to $12 for workers under the age of 18 working fewer than 650 hours per year.

What is the minimum wage in Illinois in 2024?

The minimum wage in Illinois as of January 1, 2024 is $14.00 per hour.

What is the new paid leave law in Illinois 2023?

Illinois's new paid leave law, signed in 2023, requires employers to provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 35 hours worked, as opposed to the previous rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked. This law marks a significant milestone for Illinois, as it guarantees 40 hours of paid leave and is the first of its kind in the Midwest.

What are the labor laws change for 2023 in Illinois?

Illinois Employment Laws for 2023 have seen changes in pay data reporting, meal and rest periods, protected time off, hairstyle discrimination, and minimum sick leave. These changes will impact how employers and employees navigate the workplace.

What protections are in place for temporary workers in Illinois?

In Illinois, temporary workers are entitled to equal pay and benefits, advance notice and safety training, and expanded penalties for labor law violations, ensuring their protection.


This article has provided an overview of Illinois employment laws and changes to Illinois employment laws for 2024. If you need help understanding your rights, contact an experienced employment attorney at 630-324-6666 or fill out our confidential contact form and a member of our team will be in touch.

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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