The Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, or the IWPCA, helps ensure Illinois employers pay their employees in a fair manner. Violations under the IWPCA are often raised along with other claims, such as unpaid overtime or minimum wage. The act enumerates numerous protections for workers, including:
- Employers must notify employees of their pay rate and method of pay;
- Most employees must be paid all earned wages at least semi-monthly (twice per month);
- Employees paid on a semi-monthly or bi-weekly basis must be paid all wages not later than 13 days after then end of the pay period. All wages earned by an employee paid on a weekly basis shall not be paid later than seven days after the end of the pay period;
- Once the employment relationship has ended, the employer shall pay all final compensation (including wages) at the time of separation if possible, but in no case later than the next regularly scheduled payday; and
- Employers are prohibited from making deductions on employees’ wages unless certain conditions are met.
Who is Protected by the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act
For the IWPCA to apply, an employee only need to have a contract or agreement with his or her employer. However, the Illinois Department of Labor construes these terms very broadly, and both a contract and agreement can be oral or written. In the case of an “agreement,” the Department construes an agreement as “broader than a contract,” and may even be manifested by “any other conduct, such as past practice.” An agreement can also be created for purposes of the IWPCA if the company uses an employee handbook, even if the company explicitly states the handbook does not constitute a contract.
Damages Allowed Under the IWPCA
If the employee prevails in a claim arising under the IWPCA, he or she is entitled to the amount of any underpayments, damages of 2% of the amount of any underpayments for each month following the date of payment during which such underpayments remain unpaid, and all costs and reasonably attorneys’ fees in bringing the civil action. Call today for a free consultation to learn if you are entitled to money for unpaid wages.