Illinois Poised to Enact Paid Leave for All Workers

Author: Emily Scace, Brightmine Legal Editor

January 20, 2023

Paid leave soon will be available to nearly all Illinois workers, as a result of the state legislature's recent passage of the Paid Leave for All Workers Act. Governor JB Pritzker has indicated that he will sign the bill.

"For too long we have…penalized workers for dealing with family emergencies, broken down cars, or any of the other life complications we all face," Gov. Pritzker said in a statement supporting the law. "Working families face enough challenges without the concern of losing a day's pay when life gets in the way. I'm looking forward to signing this legislation and giving a safety net to hardworking Illinoisans."

Beginning January 1, 2024, when the law takes effect, all Illinois employers - except for certain school and park districts and employers covered by preexisting municipal or county ordinances that require paid leave (including paid sick leave) - will be required to provide up to 40 hours of annual paid leave to each employee.

Employees excluded from the law include:

  • Temporary part-time student employees at colleges and universities;
  • Certain short-term workers employed at institutions of higher education;
  • Certain employees covered by collective bargaining agreements; and
  • Certain railroad workers.

Employees will earn one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked and can use the accrued leave for any reason of their choosing, beginning 90 days after hire or 90 days after the Act takes effect, whichever is later. Leave must be paid at an employee's normal hourly rate. However, employees whose compensation includes tips or commissions must receive at least the full minimum wage in the applicable jurisdiction (rather than a lower tipped minimum wage) for any leave taken under the Act.

Employers may require employees to provide up to seven calendar days' notice before taking foreseeable leave. However, any notification policies must be in writing, and employers must make exceptions when an employee's use of leave is not foreseeable, such as an emergency situation. Employees may not be required to find coverage in order to use paid leave under the Act.

Employers that already provide at least the amount of paid leave required by the Act need not modify their policies, as long as the leave may be taken for any reason at the employee's discretion.

The law also includes recordkeeping requirements, notice and posting obligations, and protections against retaliation. Employers that violate the Act may be liable for civil penalties up to $2,500 per offense in addition to back wages, compensatory damages, attorney fees and other costs.