Governor J.B. Pritzker recently signed the Paid Leave for Workers Act, which takes effect on January 1, 2024.  The Act requires employers to provide eligible employees with paid sick leave and is designed to promote a healthier and more productive workforce by enabling workers to take time off for their own or their family’s health needs without fear of losing pay or their job.

The Act covers employers with at least one employee  and paid leave will accrue at the rate of one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked up to a minimum of 40 hours of paid leave or such greater amount if the employer opts to provide more than 40 hours. In addition, employers are allowed to set a minimum increment for the use of paid leave which cannot exceed two hours per day  (unless an employee’s scheduled workday is less than 2 hours per day). Employers have to provide employees with written notice of their right to paid leave under the Act, with the notice including (at a minimum): the amount of leave that the employee is entitled to, the terms and conditions of the leave, and the employee’s right to file a complaint if their employer does not comply with the law. 

The Act allows employees to use their paid sick leave for any reason they choose, including to care for their own or a family member’s illness, injury, or medical appointment, or even to sleep in late. Importantly, an employee is not required to provide their employer any reason at all and employers cannot require documentation as proof or in support of the leave, though they do have to request the leave orally or in writing in advance. 

The Illinois Paid Leave for Workers Act is an important step towards ensuring that workers have access to the time off they need to take care of themselves and their loved ones. It is also beneficial for employers, as it can help reduce absenteeism and increase productivity by allowing employees to take the time they need, for any reason. It is a significant development in the state’s efforts to protect the health and well-being of workers. By providing paid sick leave to eligible employees, employers can help ensure that their workforce remains healthy, productive, and engaged, while also complying with their legal obligations. Employees should be encouraged to take advantage of their sick leave benefits, as doing so can help prevent the spread of illness and support a healthy workplace culture.

If you are an employee in Illinois and have questions about your rights under the law, it is important to speak with an experienced employment law attorney who can help you understand your rights and advocate on your behalf. Emery Law’s Ethan White is an employment attorney who regularly files charges and lawsuits for employees who have been treated illegally at work. He has more than a decade of pure litigation experience, primarily focusing on employee-side employment disputes, including discrimination, wage and hour, and retaliation.  If you are dealing with workplace issues, you need an employment lawyer who will fight for you. Call today for a free initial consultation.