It’s important to stay up to date on all of the employment laws in your state so that you can maintain compliance in your business. We did some of the hard work for you and put some of the most important Illinois statutes in one place so you can either learn them for the first time or give yourself a refresher. 

However, remember that our summary is not qualified legal advice, laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality. 

It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area. Consult with a qualified lawyer and/or your local government agencies if you have questions or concerns. 

Here are a few Illinois employment laws every small business owner should know.


First, here are a few helpful links and resources for you to bookmark and refer back to:


  • Sick Days: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid sick leave under Illinois law, but they may be required to provide unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Vacation Days: Employers are only required to provide paid or unpaid vacation leave if they have an established policy to do so. 
    • Employers must pay an employee for all accrued vacation time upon separation from employment. 
    • Employers can implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” vacation policy that requires employees to use their vacation time by a certain date, but must provide an adequate amount of time for the employee to use it. 
  • Jury Duty: Employers must allow employees to take time off to serve on a jury and may not require the employee to work a night shift if the employee is participating in jury duty during the day. 
  • Holiday Leave: Private employers are not required to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave unless they establish a policy to do so. 
  • Voting Leave: Employees must be given two hours off work to vote if their shift starts less than two hours after the polls open ends less than two hours before the polls close provided they have given notice. 
  • Bereavement Leave: Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave, but they may have to comply with any policy they implement. 

Final Paycheck 

  • Employees who are fired, discharged, terminated or laid off must be paid their final paycheck by the next payday. The employee can request to have their final wages mailed to them. 
  • Employees who resign or who are suspended must be paid their final paycheck by the next payday as well, and can also request that the check be mailed. 

Minimum Wage

The current minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25, but will increase over the next few years as follows: 

  • January 1, 2020: $9.25
  • June 1, 2020: $10.00
  • January 1, 2021: $11.00
  • January 1, 2022: $12.00
  • January 1, 2023: $13.00
  • January 1, 2024: $14.00
  • Janary 1, 2025: $15.00

Tipped Wages 

The minimum wage for tipped employees is $4.95. If an employer pays their employees the tipped minimum wage, they must also ensure the employee is making the standard minimum wage after tips are earned. 

Child Labor 

  • Minors under the age of 16 are required to obtain a work permit and present it to their employer to verify their ability to work before they’re hired. 
    • They are permitted to work a maximum of 8 hours a day, 48 hours a week, and 6 days per week when school is not in session. 
    • When school is in session, they are only permitted to work a maximum of 3 hours a day and up to 24 hours a week. 
    • They are allowed to work a maximum of 8 hours a day on both Saturday and Sunday as long as the minor doesn’t work more than 6 consecutive days a week. 
    • During the school year, they are prohibited from working between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., except if they are employed in recreational or educational activities by a park district or municipal parks and recreation department, in which case they may work up to 3 hours per school day twice a week until 9 p.m.  
    • They may work until 9 p.m. when school is not in session. 
  • Minors 16 and 17 years of age have no maximum working hours restrictions. 

Meal Breaks, Rest Periods, Overtime

  • Employees who work 7 ½ continuous hours must be provided with a meal break of at least 20 minutes. It must be given to an employee no later than 5 hours after their shift starts, and it can be unpaid. 
  • Employees under the age of 16 must be given a meal period of at least 30 minutes if they are scheduled to work more than 5 consecutive hours. 
  • Employees must be paid at a rate of 1 ½ times their regular rate for any work performed past 40 hours in a workweek, unless the employee is exempt. 

Employment Discrimination

The Illinois Human Rights Act makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions), national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, age (40 and over), marital status, unfavorable military discharge, military status, genetic information, arrest record, victims of domestic violence, physical, mental or perceived handicap/disability, or sexual orientation (including gender-related identity).


Illinois is an employment-at-will state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory and that the employer is not retaliating against the employee for a rightful action. 

Shift Scheduling

There are currently no laws surrounding shift scheduling in Illinois. 

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