New Law Requires Illinois Employers to Provide Paid Leave for Any Reason
On January 10, 2023, the Illinois legislature passed the Paid Leave for All Workers Act (the “PLFAW Act”), with an expected effective date of January 1, 2024. Illinois will join Maine and Nevada as the third state to require private employers to provide to employees earned paid leave that “may be taken by an employee for any reason of the employee’s choosing.” (For a more detailed discussion, click here).
Under the PLFAW Act, eligible employees generally will be entitled to earn and use up to 40 hours of paid leave during a 12-month period, and will accrue paid leave at the rate of one (1) hour for every 40 hours worked, and unused time will carry over. If 40 hours is instead frontloaded, carry over will not be required. Of note, an employer will not be able to require that an employee explain the reason for leave or provide documentation in support of it. Instead, the employee will only need to provide appropriate notice. The PLFAW Act leave will only need to be paid out at termination if it is part of an employee’s paid time off or vacation bank. Employers will need to post and include in their handbooks information about the PLFAW Act.
Complaints for violations of the PLFAW Act can be filed with the Illinois Department of Labor. Damages for violations may include actual damages, compensatory damages, employees’ costs and reasonable attorney’s fees, equitable relief, and civil penalties of $2,500 per offense.
Employers with employees in Illinois should prepare for the PLFAW Act to take effect. Employers will have some time to work out the details, but may need to adjust internal policies and systems to comply with the requirements of the new law.