New Illinois labor laws in 2018

At the state level, there were some major employment laws passed recently in Illinois.  

The Illinois Sick Leave Act requires employers who provide sick time to allow employees to use sick time to care for a sick family member.  Chicago and Cook county sick leave took effect in July, 2017 requiring covered employers to provide employees with one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked up to a maximum of 40 hours per year.   

Illinois also recently passed the Child Bereavement Act that requires grieving the death of a child or attending their funeral to be a qualifying condition for taking the federal Family Medical Leave Act.

In August of this year, the Illinois Religious Garb Act went into effect, making it so employers cannot impose as a condition of employment a requirement that an employee violate or forego a sincerely held practice of their religion like attire or facial hair.  

The state does not currently have a minimum wage increase in effect for 2018 but Chicago’s minimum wage will increase to $12.00, effective July 1, 2018.  Cook county’s minimum wage will increase to $11.00, effective July 1, 2018.  Click here for more information on Illinois Minimum Wage.

Predictable Scheduling laws have been proposed in Illinois.  If they pass, they will take effect in July 2018. These regulations include:

  • Employers must provide a good faith estimate of the employees work schedule.
  • Must provide 2 weeks advance notice of work schedules,
  • Employers must compensate employees for adding/subtracting hours from, moving, or cancelling a previously-scheduled shift
  • Employers must offer additional hours to existing employees before hiring
  • Employees have the right to decline previously unscheduled hours added to schedule without 2 weeks notice or 14 day notice;
  • Employees must have 11 hours to rest after the end of a shift.  Hours worked before 11 hours after the end of a shift must be paid at 1.5 times the regular rate.

Also of note, in 2018 Illinois passed their own protections for genetic information prohibiting employers from penalizing an employee for refusing to disclose genetic info.  Illinois passed protections for employees prohibiting an employer from disciplining an employee who responds to an emergency services are needed.

Labor law updates at the federal level

Not much is changing in 2018 at the federal level — so far. While the Trump Administration has not moved forward with the Obama Administration’s changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act, increasing the threshold below which salaried employees become eligible for overtime, experts expect that they will update the amount somewhere between the current $23,660 and the Obama Administration’s proposed $47,476.

Separately, expect an increase in ICE raids next year, and have your employment records ready and up to date. Conduct an i-9 audit now, and be sure to use the updated form i-9 for newly hired employees and review the updated i-9 handbook for employers.

ICE Director Thomas Homan has instructed Homeland Security Investigations (ICE’s investigative arm) to increase its time spent on worksite enforcement by “four or five times” next year.

Next steps

Make sure you’re in compliance with any new and existing labor laws, and be sure to seek legal counsel on this and all employment law issues.