Come 2024, Almost All Illinois Workers Will Be Entitled to Paid Time Off
Starting January 1, 2024, almost all Illinois employers who do not provide employees with at least 40 hours of paid time off, or those that limit employees’ use of paid time off for certain reasons, such as sick time, may need to modify their paid leave policies to comply with the Illinois Paid Leave for All Workers Act (“PLAWA”).
This alert provides a summary of some of the key provisions of PLAWA and answers to many commonly asked questions. Additional information is expected in the coming weeks as the Illinois Department of Labor (“Department”) plans to issue draft rules interpreting PLAWA before the new law becomes effective.
Key Provisions of PLAWA:
- Eligibility: Under PLAWA, all Illinois employees (with a few narrow exceptions) including full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal, are eligible for paid leave regardless of the size of the employer.
- Accrual: Employees must accrue paid leave at the minimum rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per 12-month period. Employers can also frontload paid time off at the beginning of the 12-month. Accrual or frontloading must start on day 1 of employment or January 1, 2024, whichever date is later.
- Use of Leave: Employees must be permitted to use paid time off for any reason, including, without limitation, for illness, vacation, personal time off, to care for a family member, or to attend a funeral.
- Permissible Use Waiting Period: Employers may require employees to wait up to 90 days to use paid time off.
- Carryover: If an employer accrues paid time off under PLAWA, employees must be allowed to carryover all unused paid time off into the subsequent year. However, employers can cap use of paid time off to 40 hours per 12-month period.
- Payout Upon Termination: Employers are not required to payout paid leave provided under PLAWA at the time of separation.
- Notice and Documentation: Employers may require employees to provide seven (7) days’ notice before taking leave for reasons that are foreseeable, and reasonable notice for leave that is not foreseeable. Notice must be allowed to be provided verbally or in writing. Employees may also be required to provide documentation for absences exceeding three consecutive work days.
- Reinstatement: Employers must reinstate employees’ unused accrued paid leave if they are rehired within 12 months after separation.
- No Retaliation: An employer cannot retaliate against an employee for using paid leave under PLAWA.
- Record-keeping: Employers must maintain records of paid leave accrual and use for at least three (3) years.
Answers to Commonly Asked Questions
1. If an employer already offers 40+ hours of paid leave, does their policy need to comply with the other requirements of PLAWA?
Yes. Nothing in the law prohibits an employer from adopting a policy that establishes some parameters for taking leave, and limited reasons the employer may deny leave for operational necessity. The policy must be communicated to employees, applied equally to all employees and conform with other applicable state and federal laws. See Department FAQ #10.
4. At what increments can an employee take leave under PLAWA?
An employee may take leave under PLAWA at a minimum of two-hour increments, although an employer can allow an employee to take leave in smaller increments. See Department FAQ #11. This means that, if an employer requires employees to take leave in half-day increments, that policy would not comply (except as stated above in #1).
For purposes of PLAWA, exempt employees are deemed to work 40 hours in each workweek if they regularly work 40 or more hours in a workweek. If an employee’s regular workweek is less than 40 hours, their paid time accrues based on the number of hours in their regular workweek. See Department FAQ #17.
If you have any questions about this alert or require assistance in updating and implementing a paid leave policy for your Illinois workforce, please contact Amy M. Gibson or the Aronberg Goldgehn attorney with whom you regularly work.