Illinois Paid Leave Law: Any Reason for Use

By Jana Bjorklund, GovDocs Senior Counsel and Director, Employment Law and Compliance
Updated March 14, 2023

Illinois Paid Leave Law

With the law expected to go into effect, employers have almost a year now to prepare for the Illinois paid leave law and may want to review their existing policies and procedures around any paid leave they already provide to their employees. 

An Illinois paid leave law, which allows employees to use the leave for any reason, is close to being on the books.

Illinois’ Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he intends to sign into law the Illinois Paid Leave for All Workers Act (PLFAW), which will require private employers to provide up to 40 hours of paid leave in a 12-month period to their employees beginning on Jan. 1, 2024.

UPDATE MARCH 2023: The governor has signed the bill into law.

Similar to two other states, Nevada and Maine, the Illinois paid leave can be taken for any reason and under the law — employees are not required to give their employer a reason for taking leave. Bernalillo County, N.M., also has a similar law.

Also, employers may provide the leave on an accrual basis or frontload the entire amount of leave at the beginning of the designated 12-month period.

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Illinois Paid Leave Law

The Illinois paid leave law will apply to essentially all private employers, as well as the state and units of local governments, or any state or local government agency. (Illinois school districts organized under the Illinois School Code and Illinois park districts organized under the Illinois Park District Code, however, are not included in the definition of “employer” under the PLFAW Act.)

Of note is that the PLFAW Act does not apply to employers currently covered by a municipal or county ordinance that is in effect as of Jan. 1, 2024, and requires the employer to provide any form of paid leave to their employees, including paid sick leave or other paid leave.

This means that employers in Chicago subject to the Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance will be exempt from complying with the Illinois paid leave law.

Additionally, employers in Cook County that provide paid sick leave in accordance with Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance will also be exempt from complying with the PLFAW Act.

However, employers located in a Cook County municipality that opted out of the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance may be subject to the PLFAW Act.

Illinois Paid Leave Law: Accrual Rate, Carryover, Rate of Pay

Employees must accrue one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked and can begin using paid leave 90 days following the effective date of the law, or 90 days following the start of their employment, whichever is later.

Any earned but unused accrued paid leave must be carried over to the following year unless the employer frontloads the employee’s leave at the beginning of the 12-month period.

The leave must be paid at the employee’s hourly rate of pay. Employees who receive gratuities or commissions that are recognized as part of their pay must be paid the greater of the full minimum wage in the jurisdiction employed when the paid leave is taken, or their hourly rate.

Other Details of the Illinois Paid Leave Law

In addition to the above, there are several other items for employers in Illinois to consider.

Employee Notice of Intent to Take Paid Leave

Employers may require employees to provide up to seven calendar days’ notice before they take paid leave if the leave is foreseeable. If the leave is not foreseeable, employees should provide notice as soon as possible.

Employers who will require notice of paid leave that is not foreseeable will need to have a written policy that provides employees with procedures regarding the notice requirements.

Recordkeeping Requirements

Employers will need to keep records of each employee’s hours worked, paid leave accrued and taken, and the remaining paid leave balance for at least three years. Employers who provide paid leave on an accrual basis are also required to provide notice of the amount of paid leave accrued or used by the employee upon request.

Posting and Notice Requirements

Meanwhile, employers will be required to display a labor law poster in the workplace that the Illinois Department of Labor will prepare. The poster will summarize the requirements of the PLFAW Act and include information on filing a charge.

If an employer has a workforce that primarily does not speak English, the employer must post the notice in the appropriate language spoken by the employees. Violations of the posting requirements will result in a $500 penalty for the first violation and $1,000 penalty for each subsequent violation.

This information regarding the requirements of the PLFAW Act must also be provided to employees in a written document, employee handbook or policy manual and must be provided on the employee’s start date, or 90 days after Jan. 1, 2024, whichever is later.

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What Next?

Employers have almost a year now to prepare for the Illinois paid leave law and may want to review their existing policies and procedures around any paid leave they already provide to their employees.

Employers with paid leave policies that allow employees to take the leave for any reason will not be required under the law to modify their policies. Employers may want to address this now and consider changing existing policies to comply with the PLFAW.

This Employment Law News blog is intended for market awareness only, it is not to be used for legal advice or counsel.

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