Chicago, Ill. (February 7, 2024) - The State of Illinois continued its best efforts to be the "California of the Midwest" in 2023. The State passed a large assortment of laws and amendments, primarily in the areas of employment, leaves of absence, and staffing.

Amendments to Equal Pay Act, the Personnel Records Review Act, and Posting Requirements for Remote Workers

Under HB 3733, Illinois employers with 100+ employees are now required to seek equal pay registration certificates containing a list of all employees during the past calendar year, separated by gender, race, and ethnicity, along with information pertaining to the county where the employee works, and dates of employment.

The Illinois Personnel Record Review Act (IPRRA) now allows an employee to request his/her personnel file by email or paper copy. Employers that permit employees to work remotely must either post all required information under the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA), and the Child Labor Law, to the employer's website/intranet, or email a copy of the respective laws to its remote workers.

Further, effective January 1, 2025, employers with at least 15 employees must include the "pay scale and benefits" for an opening in any specific job posting – including the wage, salary, or the wage or salary range, and a general description of benefits and other compensation, including but not limited to: bonuses, stock options, or other incentives the employer reasonably expects in good faith to offer for the position.

Finally, an employer will have to announce or post all opportunities for promotion to all current employees no later than 14 days after the employer makes an external job posting for an opening.

Amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act (HB 3135)

The Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) now has the absolute right to intervene in litigation, providing that if a complainant files a complaint with the Illinois Human Rights Commission (IHRC) or in circuit court, the complainant must notify the chief legal counsel of the IDHR within 21 days of filing the complaint. Intervention may be granted where the IDHR has an interest different from one or more of the parties; where the expertise of the IDHR makes it better suited to articulate a particular point of view; or where the representation of the IDHR's interest by existing parties is or may be inadequate and the IDHR will or may be bound by an order or judgment in the action. Further, if a complainant has filed suit in state or federal court, the Illinois Attorney General may seek to intervene in the lawsuit on behalf of the IDHR.

Amendments to the Gender Violence Act (GVA) (HB1363)

The GVA is now expanded to the workplace, when an interaction giving rise to gender-related violence arises out of and in the course of employment with the employer. Liability may extend to gender-related violence that occurs: (i) while the employee was directly performing the employee's job duties and the gender-related violence was the proximate cause of the injury; or (ii) while the agent of the employer was directly involved in the performance of the contracted work and the gender-related violence was the proximate cause of the injury.

Further, "An employer is liable for gender-related violence if the employer failed to supervise, train, or monitor the employee who engaged in the gender-related violence."

Illinois Paid Leave for All Workers Act

As of January 1, 2024, any employee who works in Illinois, with a few exceptions, will be eligible to earn "up to a minimum 40 hours of paid leave" in a 12-month period for any reason. The law does not require employers to provide additional leave beyond 40 hours, although employers may offer their employees more.

Paid leave under the Act accrues at the rate of one (1) hour for every 40 hours worked up to a minimum of 40 hours. However, an employer may elect to "front load" the full 40 hours of leave at the beginning of the applicable 12-month period if it so chooses. Regardless of whether the time accrues as the employee works or is granted in full at the outset of the applicable period, employees may commence taking leave 90 days after their start date.

Please see our previous publications for additional details on this new law.

Chicago Paid Leave and Sick Leave Ordinance

Chicago's new Paid Leave and Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance is now scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2024. The city's ordinance was amended to change the definition of a covered employee to someone who works 80 hours in the city within any 120 days and to require that employers provide their written paid time off policy to each covered employee in their primary language. Until the new requirements take effect, employers must continue complying with Chicago's existing paid sick leave ordinance.

Employee Blood and Organ Donation Leave Act

Illinois' original blood donation leave law required employers with 51+ employees to provide eligible employees with one hour to donate blood every 56 days. The new law now requires such employers to provide eligible employees with up to 10 days of paid leave in any 12-month period to serve as an organ donor. To be eligible for leave, employees must be considered full time and have worked for the employer for at least six months.

Victims Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA)

The Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), which applies to employers of all sizes, has been expanded to provide up to 10 workdays of unpaid leave for employees whose family or household member was killed in a violent crime.

Child Extended Bereavement Leave Act

Employers with 50 or more full-time employees in Illinois must provide unpaid bereavement leave when a full-time employee experiences the loss of their child due to suicide or homicide. The amount of leave depends on employer size. Those with 50–249 employees must provide up to six weeks of leave, while those with 250 or more employees must provide up to 12 weeks. The new law does not extend the maximum period of leave to which an employee is entitled under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 or under any other paid or unpaid leave provided under federal, state or local law, a collective bargaining agreement, or an employment benefits program or plan.

Amendments to the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act (HB 3641)

Amendments to the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act ("IDTLSA") are set to take effect on April 1, 2024. The IDTLSA amendments place additional requirements on staffing agencies and their clients, increase penalties for violations and allow temporary workers and interested third parties to sue staffing agencies and/or clients.

A temporary worker assigned to a client for 90 calendar days during any 12-month period after April 1, 2024, must receive at least the same pay rate and equivalent benefits as the client's lowest paid employee with similar role and tenure. This "equal pay" provision allows that "actual cost of benefits" may be paid in lieu of benefits. If there is no employee with a similar role, the staffing agency must compensate at least as much as the client's lowest paid employee with the closest tenure.

Further, before a temporary worker initially reports to a worksite, the staffing agency must provide safety training and notice regarding any hazards at the worksite, as well as providing the contact information for the IDOL and the identity of the client representative to whom temp worker can report safety concerns. Additionally, the staffing agency must also provide notice of any labor dispute(s) at that worksite. Finally, a temporary worker is permitted to refuse assignments without repercussions.

The IDTLSA amendments also place requirements on staffing agency clients, including that, if requested, the client must provide a staffing agency with the above information about job duties, pay and benefits of comparative employees, information about safety and health practices, hazards at worksite and any labor disputes in order for the agency to comply with the law. The amendments require staffing agencies and clients to maintain any and all records for three years, matching the law's statute of limitations to enforce an action.

Significantly, enforcement may be sought by temporary workers or interested third parties, such as state agencies, unions or other workers' right organizations. Penalties increased for violating the IDTLSA, which will range from $100 - $18,000 for initial violations, and $250 - $7,500 for repeat violations.

Minimum Wage Increases

Statewide - The minimum wage increased to $14 per hour. The minimum base wage for tipped employees increased to $8.40 per hour. Illinois' minimum wage law applies to employers with four or more employees.

Cook County – While identical to the state law, all employers in Cook County, regardless of size, are subject to the minimum wage rates.

Chicago - The minimum wage is $15.80 per hour for large employers (21+ employees) and $15.00 for small employers (4-20 employees). The minimum base wage for tipped employees is $9.48 per hour for large employers and $9.00 for small employers.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.