Paid Leave Now Required for Most Illinois Employers

Changes are coming in 2024 with the enactment of the Paid Leave for All Workers Act. The law requires employers to provide certain paid leave to Illinois employees, something that has never been required before.

Most importantly, the legislation requires employers to provide employees 40 hours of paid leave during a 12-month period. Employees are entitled to begin using their leave within 90 days following the start of their employment. If the leave is foreseeable, an employer may require the employee to provide 7 calendar days’ notice. If the leave is not foreseeable (such as a medical emergency), the employee shall provide as much notice as is practicable. The 40 hours of leave must carry over annually, but cannot exceed 40 hours.

When an employee takes leaves under the Act, it may be taken for any purpose. Importantly, an employee is not required to provide the reason for taking leave. Employers are even allowed to ask for supporting documentation or certification to support a leave.

In the event an employer violates the Act, the employee may file a claim with the Illinois Department of Labor. If the employee prevails, the employee may be entitled to actual damages from the violation, compensatory damages, and a penalty between $500 and $1,000. Employees are also entitled to their reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.