The One Day Rest in Seven Act Modifies the Definition of "Work Period," Adds Meal Breaks, Heightens Employer Notice Requirements, and Imposes Stricter Penalties on Employers

10.26.22

The One Day Rest in Seven Act (“ODRISA”) requires Illinois employers to provide most full-time, non-exempt employees with one day of rest during each workweek, as well as meal and rest breaks during daily shifts.

As further explained below, effective January 1, 2023, ODRISA will include a modified definition of “work period” for purposes of assessing when a day of rest is required. It will also require employers to provide additional meal breaks in the event an employee works greater than 12-hours and provide employees with notice of the amendments to ODRISA. Employers are also subject to greater penalties in the event of noncompliance with ODRISA.

Covered Employees Will be Eligible for at Least 24-Hours of Rest in Every Consecutive Seven-Day Period

ODRISA currently requires employers to provide eligible employees with at least twenty-four consecutive hours of rest in every “calendar week,” which is defined as Sunday at 12:01 a.m. to midnight on the following Saturday.

Some employers have taken advantage of the use of the term “calendar week” by scheduling employees to work seven consecutive days without a single day off of work, as long as those seven days do not fall from Sunday through Saturday. For example, some employers require employees to work on Monday of a given week and then continue working for the next 11-days, with the following Saturday off. Technically, this would comply with the current law.

Pursuant to the amended version of ODRISA, however, employers will be required to provide covered employees with a minimum of twenty-four consecutive hours of rest in every consecutive seven-day period. The tracking period is no longer tied to the calendar week.

Covered Employees Who Work in Excess of 7.5 Hours Will be Entitled to Additional Meal Breaks

ODRISA currently provides covered employees with a meal period of 20 minutes for every 7.5 hour shift, beginning no later than 5 hours after the start of the shift.

The amended version of the statute will provide covered employees, who work in excess of 7.5 continuous hours, with an additional 20-minute meal period for each additional 4.5 continuous hours worked. In effect, covered employees who work at least 12-hour shifts will soon be entitled to two 20-minute meal periods during their shifts, as opposed to just one.

Employers Must Provide Employees with Sufficient Notice of the Amendments to ODRISA

Starting in 2023, employers are required to post, disseminate, and otherwise provide their employees with a notice in the form to be provided by the Director of Labor (the “Director”), which both summarizes ODRISA’s requirements and provides information as to how an employee may file a complaint for violation of the ODRISA.

An employer’s failure to provide notice as required under the amended version of the statute will be deemed a violation of ODRISA.

Employers May be Subject to Increased Penalties and Damages for Non-Compliance

Under the current version of ODRISA, employers who violate the statute may be subject to fines of not less than $25 or more than $100 for each offense. Importantly, employees cannot currently sue an employer or recover damages for an employer’s violations.

Effective January 1, 2023, however, employers may be subject to an increased civil penalty payable to the Illinois Department of Labor (“the “IDOL”). The penalty, which ranges from $250 to $500 per offense, depends on the number of employees of the employer. The Director will be tasked with enforcement of ODRISA.

Beyond potential civil penalties payable to the IDOL, employers may also be found liable to affected employees and be required to pay damages to those employees of between $250 to $500 per violation (not per employee), again depending on the size of the employer.



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