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Kevin O'Flaherty

Governor Pritzker has announced he will sign Senate Bill 208 after the Illinois legislature passed the Paid Leave for All Workers Act on January 10, 2023. This Act will go into effect on January 1, 2024, and grants almost all Illinois workers 40 hours of paid leave in any 12-month period. Illinois would be the third state, after Nevada and Maine, to have mandatory paid time off. Read on to learn more about this new Illinois Employment Law


Who is a Covered Employer and Employee Under This Act?

All employees in Illinois are covered under the new Act. Like most things in life, there are some exceptions to this ruling, including:

  • Railroad employees 
  • Temporary college or higher-education institution employee
  • Public school district employees assembled under the School Code 
  • Park district employees assembled under the Park District Code 
  • Employees covered by a bona fide collective bargaining agreement

What About Local Ordinances Regarding Paid Leave?

Local ordinances take precedence over the new Act. This means that the Act does not apply to employers with a municipal or county ordinance that requires employers to give paid leave to their employees, such as paid sick leave. For example, the Act does not cover the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance or the Chicago Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Ordinance. Any local ordinance must give employees equal or better benefits or rights as granted by the Act. For more information on Illinois employer law amendments read our article, 2023 Illinois Employer Laws: ODRISA & Family Leave Amendments

How Much Paid Leave Is Required To Be Accrued, Carried Over, Or Frontloaded?

It is left up to the employer to decide whether they want the 40 hours of paid leave to be frontloaded or to have an accrual system for the 40 hours of paid leave. If the accrual system is in place, employees will earn one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours of work. Employees can cap accrued leave at 40 hours annually. Employees may carry over paid leave from one 12-month period to the next unless the employer chooses frontloading. 

Employees discussing the new Paid Leave for All Workers Act in the breakroom

How Can Employees Use Their Leave?

Paid leave can only be used once an employee has completed 90 calendar days of employment. A minimum increment of use for payment may be set reasonably by the employer. Employers may make a reasonable increment of use for paid leave under the Act. The minimum increment of use cannot be more than two hours, and if the employee’s shift is less than two hours, the minimum increment of use will be the length of the employee’s scheduled shift. 

What Is The Rate of Pay For Paid Leave?

The employee’s hourly pay rate will be paid for the hours of paid leave under the Act. The full minimum wage must be paid to employees paid gratuities and commissions. 

What Are The Policies Requiring Notice?

Seven days of advanced notice may be needed for paid leave. If the leave is unforeseeable, employees only need to give notice as soon as possible. The Act does explicitly prohibit employers from requiring documentation to support this paid leave. Finding a replacement employee to cover hours during which another employee uses paid leave is also prohibited. 

Are There Requirements for Recordkeeping?

In terms of recordkeeping, the Act states that employers create records documenting hours worked, leave that has been accrued, leave that has been taken, and any remaining paid leave balances. Records must be retained for three years and made available for inspection by the IDOL (Illinois Department of Labor). If on an accrual system, the employer must provide information on the amount of leave used or accrued upon request by an employee.

What Are The Posting Requirements For This New Act?

The IDOL will prepare a notice to be posted by the employers where notices are typically posted. This will summarize the requirements of the Act and give information on filing a charge. If a considerable number of employees do not read English, employers must give a notice in the appropriate language. A first violation of posting requirements can result in a $500 penalty and $1,000 for any subsequent violations. 

How is the Paid Leave for All Workers Act Enforced?

The IDOL is the one who is in charge of enforcing the new Act. Employees have three years to file complaints with the IDOL regarding alleged violations. Employers found violating the provisions of the Act are subject to damages, attorneys’ fees, and civil penalties. Get an overview of Illinois employment law from our article, Illinois Employment Law Changes For 2023

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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