Are you an Illinois employer that offers paid leave? Whew! January 1 law should be easy, breezy
Posted November 3, 2023
Good news for employers with employees in Illinois. According to the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL), if a company has an existing policy that provides the minimum amount of leave required by the Illinois Paid Leave For All Workers Act (PLAWA), which is 40 hours in a 12-month period, and employees can take that amount of leave for any reason, the employer does not need to modify the terms of their policy or provide more leave.
IDOL expects to further clarify how existing policies meet expectations of the law in rulemaking.
Background on PLAWA
Back in March 2023, Governor JB Pritzker signed SB208 into law, making Illinois the third state in the nation to mandate paid time off to be used for any reason. The law takes effect on January 1, 2024.
The law applies to every employee working for an employer in Illinois, including domestic workers, but excludes independent contractors. The law also exempts employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement in the construction industry and parcel delivery industry.
The City of Chicago and Cook County have an existing paid sick leave ordinance in place; employees and employers in those two geographic regions will be subject to those ordinances.
Employees accrue paid leave at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked. Employees begin accruing the leave on January 1, 2024, or upon hire, whichever is later. Employees may begin taking the leave on March 31, 2024, or 90 days following after hire, whichever is later.
Employers may, however, frontload the 40 hours of leave. Employers that frontload the leave are not required to carryover paid leave from 12-month period to 12-month period and may require employees to use all paid leave prior to the end of the benefit period or forfeit the unused paid leave.
Employees will be paid their full wage while on leave and tipped workers will be paid the minimum wage in their respective locale. Employers may not require an employee to find their replacement for the leave.
This article was written by Darlene Clabault of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.