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The Illinois Paid Leave for All Workers law takes effect January 1. How it will work – NBC Chicago

Under a new law in 2024, nearly every worker in the state of Illinois will officially be guaranteed at least one week of paid time off, but how exactly will that work?

The bill will take effect on January 1, but not everyone will immediately benefit from the newly allocated vacation days.

“Illinois is the most worker-friendly state in the country, and the Paid Leave for All Workers law is a great example of translating those values ​​into action. » Gov. JB Pritzker said in a statement Wednesday. “Starting January 1, I couldn’t be prouder that Illinois will officially become the first Midwestern state to mandate paid leave for any reason.”

Here is a breakdown:

How many hours of paid leave can workers receive?

Under the Paid Leave for All Workers Act, almost all Illinois employees will be eligible for a minimum of 40 hours of paid leave per year. Employers can offer more if they wish.

Workers will receive one hour of leave for every 40 hours worked.

When can workers start using their time?

Employees can begin using this time after 90 days of employment, the legislation states. This means that starting March 31, 2024, or 90 days after starting their employment, workers can begin using their earned leave for any reason without having to provide documentation to their employer, according to the Department of Labor of Illinois.

What can paid leave be used for?

Unlike similar bills in other states, the expanded paid leave legislation requires Illinois employers to provide workers with time off based on hours worked, to be used for any reason, and not only for health reasons.

“If the use of leave is unforeseeable, the employee is encouraged to provide advance notice as soon as possible,” a statement from Illinois Senate Democrats said.

What if not all hours are used?

The legislation also specifies that unused paid leave must be carried over annually, up to 40 hours, but that “employers are not required to collect the balance of paid leave from a departing employee”, the press release continues.

“Employers who violate the law would be subject to sanctions, including fines and compensatory damages to the affected employee,” the bill states.

Who will be entitled to paid leave?

Seasonal workers, such as lifeguards, will be exempt, as will federal employees or college students who hold temporary part-time jobs for their university.

How will workers be paid?

Workers will receive full pay while on leave and tipped workers will receive the minimum wage in their respective area. An employer cannot require an employee to find a replacement for the leave.

Cook County and Chicago ordinances already require employers to provide paid sick leave, and workers in those locations will continue to be covered under existing laws rather than the new bill.

The Chicago and Cook County orders served as pilot programs for statewide legislation and assuaged critics who predicted mass business closures that did not materialize, Sarah said Labadie, director of advocacy and policy at Women Employed, a nonprofit that has fought for paid leave since 2008 and helped pass the legislation.

But both have undergone some changes in recent weeks.


In Chicago this week, the City Council passed a “trailer ordinance” changing its paid leave rules to “provide additional implementation time and flexibility for employers.”

Chicago’s ordinance already requires all Chicago businesses to provide paid sick leave to their employees and that any employee who works at least 80 hours for a Chicago employer in a 120-day period is covered. Under the ordinance, for every 40 hours worked, an employee receives one hour of paid sick leave, up to a maximum of 40 hours.

But the City Council in November passed what it described as “the most progressive paid leave legislation at the municipal level in the United States.” The legislation guarantees up to five days of paid vacation and five sick days for all workers.

An order was passed this week, however, pushing back the effective date of the new rules to July 1, 2024, “giving employers six additional months to understand, prepare and implement the new law.”

“I am proud to have worked with employers and worker rights organizations to craft a compromise agreement that delivers the nation’s most progressive paid leave policy, and today’s trailer ordinance hui will ensure that employers have sufficient time to understand and comply with the law. “, Mayor Brandon Johnson said in a statement. “Workers should have the basic dignity of time off to care for themselves and their families. This law will strengthen our workforce, our businesses and our economy as a whole while providing the flexibility our employers need to implement change of this magnitude. I commend the City Council for continuing to engage on this issue to address these outstanding concerns.

Cook County

Similarly, in Cook County, changes were passed this week to the suburban county’s paid leave ordinance.

The Cook County Board of Commissioners adopted what it called “significant changes,” which will take effect Dec. 31.

At that time, the county ordinance will guarantee employees:

  • Earn at least one hour of paid time off for every 40 hours worked for your employer in Cook County; And
  • May use paid time off for any reason chosen by the employee.

“This represents a significant change because the Earned Sick Leave Ordinance previously described the conditions during which earned sick leave could be used (e.g., when you or a member of your family is ill, receiving medical care , etc.),” said Cook County Board Chairman Toni. Preckwinkle’s office said so. “Paid time off, on the other hand, can be used for any reason, providing more flexibility for Cook County employees to take time off.”

The county’s changes help bring it more in line with the state.

NBC Chicago

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