Major Changes Regarding Leave Benefits

Starting on January 1, 2024, a number of big changes will take effect for Illinois employers. These changes include new and expanded employee leave benefits, pre-tax commuter benefits, expansion of the Gender Violence Act ,and new protections for temporary workers (which went into effect on August 4, 2023) to name a few. The impact of the Paid Leave for All Workers Act will extend to nearly all employees within the state, and this article will primarily center its discussion on this broad-reaching legislation.

At the beginning of 2024, the Paid Leave for All Workers Act (PLAW) will go into effect. In March 2023, Governor JB Pritzker signed SB208 into law, making Illinois the third state in the nation to mandate paid time off for any reason. Employees will be granted up to 40 hours of paid leave within a 12-month period. This new law applies to every employee working for an employer in Illinois, including domestic workers, but does exclude independent contractors.

Previously, Illinois did not require paid time off for various reasons, including sick leave, childcare, and sudden events like car trouble. Starting from March 31, 2024, or 90 days after employment initiation, workers can utilize their earned time off for any purpose without the need for documentation under the Paid Leave for Workers Act.

Paid leave accrues at a rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked, with employees receiving their full wages during leave, while tipped workers receive the minimum wage. Employers are prohibited from mandating employees to find replacements during their leave.

The Illinois Department of Labor has created an FAQ which answers many questions employers may have regarding the new law. When in doubt, please consider seeking legal advice regarding PLAW and other employment related laws going into effect in the coming months.

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