Contact HR On-Call
During the most recent legislative session, Illinois has passed several laws that either create new rights for employees or expand existing laws that affect employee rights. Employers should begin to review these new and amended laws now and prepare for their upcoming impacts.
Expansion of the Illinois Family Bereavement Law. Effective January 1, 2024, SB 2034 significantly expands the Illinois family bereavement leave law. Originally enacted in 2016 as the Child Bereavement Leave Act, and later expanded and renamed as the Family Bereavement Leave Act in early 2023, the law will again be renamed as the Child Extended Bereavement Leave Act (CEBLA). Under the expanded CEBLA, eligible employees who lose a child by suicide or homicide will be entitled to: (1) up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if they work for a large employer with more than 250 full-time employees; or (2) up to six weeks of unpaid leave if they work for a mid-sized employer with 50 to 250 employees. Employees may take this leave in a single continuous period or intermittently in increments of no less than four (4) hours.
Employees must complete their leave within one year after having notified their employer of their loss. Under the amended law, employers may require the employee to provide advance notice of their intent to take leave, as well as documentation to support the basis for the leave, such as a death certificate, an obituary, or written verification from a funeral home.
Amendments to the Victim’s Economic Security and Safety Act. Effective January 1, 2024, HB 2493 amends Illinois’ Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA) by expanding the list of qualifying reasons for which employees may take unpaid leave. These additional reasons include attending the funeral of, making arrangements for, and grieving the death of a family or household member who is killed in a violent crime. For this new mourning leave, employees are entitled to two workweeks (10 workdays) of unpaid leave, which must be completed within 60 days after the date on which the employee receives notice of the victim’s death. If the employee is also entitled to leave under the amended CEBLA, then the mourning leave may not exceed or be in addition to leave under the CEBLA. However, the mourning leave will be in addition to the four to 12 weeks of leave to which employees may be entitled for other qualifying reasons (such as seeking medical attention, legal assistance, obtaining counseling, etc.).
If an employee is not entitled to take unpaid leave under the CEBLA, then VESSA’s mourning leave is deducted from the total amount of leave time to which an employee is entitled for other qualifying reasons. In addition to the mourning leave, the amendments also add death certificates, published obituaries and certain other written verifications to the list of documents that will satisfy VESSA’s certification requirements.
New Leave for Employee Organ Donation. Effective January 1, 2024, HB 3516 creates a new leave entitlement for an employee’s organ donation. Amending the Employee Blood Donation Leave Act, the law allows eligible employees of companies with 51 or more employees to use up to 10 days of paid leave in any 12-month period to donate an organ. The law defines an “organ” as “any biological tissue of the human body that may be donated by a living donor,” including, but not limited to, a kidney, liver, lung, pancreas, intestine, bone and skin. HB 3516 also formally renames the law to the Employee Blood and Organ Donation Leave Act.
New Freelance Worker Protection Act. Effective July 1, 2024, HB 1122 creates a new law called the Freelance Worker Protection Act (FWPA) that will require companies that hire freelancers to provide services or products valued at $500 or more to: (1) memorialize the agreement through a written contract; (2) make timely payments after the freelance worker has completed the contract for service or delivered the product (within 30 days); and (3) refrain from engaging in discriminatory, retaliatory, or harassing behavior towards freelance workers. The FWPA defines a “freelance worker” as anyone hired or retained as an independent contractor to provide products or services in Illinois or for any Illinois-based entity in exchange for compensation of at least $500 (either in a single contract or in the aggregate of all contracts during the last 120 days).
However, the FWPA specifically excludes: (1) workers performing construction services; (2) workers performing services as an employee for a contractor who engages in construction; (3) workers engaged in the traditional employer-employee relationship as defined by the Illinois Wage Payment and Collections Act; and (4) all foreign, federal, state, and local government entities including school districts. In preparation for this new law, employers should evaluate whether any independent contractors providing services to the company fall within the definition of a “freelance worker,” and if so, consult with their legal counsel to prepare the appropriate contract for services and arrange for a compliant compensation schedule.
New Pay Transparency Law. Effective January 1, 2025, HB 3129 amends the Illinois Equal Pay Act in several significant ways:
- New Job Posting Requirements. Under the amended law, covered organizations are required to disclose in their job postings the wage, salary, wage range, or salary range (i.e., the pay scale) and a general description of the benefits and other compensation that the employer reasonably expects to offer for the position. This disclosure requirement pertains to positions that will be physically performed (at least in part) within the state of Illinois, as well as positions that may be performed outside of Illinois, if the employee reports to a supervisor, office, or other work site within Illinois.
- Internal Job Posting Requirement. The Act requires covered organizations to announce, post, or otherwise make known all job opportunities to all current employees no later than the same day that the job is posted externally.
- Disclosure of Pay Scale and Benefits to Applicants. Although the amended law does not require employers to make a job posting, employers will be required to disclose to an applicant the pay scale and benefits to be offered for the position prior to any offer or discussion of compensation and at the applicant’s request if no job posting has been made available.
- Record Keeping Requirements. The amended law imposes a new record retention requirement, requiring employers to preserve records of the pay scale and benefits information for each posted position for at least five (5) years. In the event of an ongoing investigation, however, employers will need to retain them until the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) or court order authorizes their destruction.
- Potential Liability for Third Party Job Postings. Employers may be held liable for a third-party’s failure to include the pay scale and benefits information in a job posting that is posted on the employer’s behalf. To avoid this, employers should monitor postings managed by third party sites closely, and should make sure to provide the third-party sites with the required pay scale and benefits information (or a hyperlink to that information) ahead of the posting, so that it can be appropriately included as part of the job posting.
- Penalties for Violations. Suspected violations of the pay transparency law will be investigated by the IDOL. If the IDOL determines that a violation has in fact occurred, the employer will have seven (7) days to remedy the violation or will be subject to a civil penalty of $100 per day for each day the violation continues. Under the amended law, each job posting that fails to comply will be considered a separate violation.
- Review and revise leave policies and practices to account for expanded leave provisions under CEBLA, VESSA, and Employee Blood and Organ Donation Leave Act.
- Review independent contractor arrangements to determine whether such individuals qualify as freelance workers.
- Consult with legal counsel regarding appropriate contractual agreements required for engagement with freelance workers.
- Review job postings to prepare for upcoming compliance with new pay transparency requirements.
Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser. © 2023 ManagEase