A new law recently signed by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker guarantees paid time off for employees. The Paid Leave for All Workers Act requires employers to provide up to 40 hours of paid leave during a 12-month period, allowing approximately 1.5 million workers to begin earning paid time off starting in 2024. The law does not apply to employers covered by pre-existing municipal or county ordinances in Chicago and Cook County. Illinois employers that do not currently offer paid leave of at least 40 hours per year should begin planning now to make sure they will be compliant with the new law.

This historic legislation makes Illinois the third state in the nation to mandate paid time off for any reason. Paid leave will accrue at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked. Employees will be paid their hourly rate of pay while on leave and tipped workers will be paid at least the local minimum wage. Employers are required to document each employee’s hours worked, paid leave taken, and any remaining balance accrued but not used.

Under existing law, workers are not guaranteed pay when taking time off for sick leave, childcare, mental health reasons, medical appointments, vacation, or any other reason. However, with the new law, commencing 1/1/2024, workers will immediately start earning paid time off that can be used for any reason without providing documentation to their employer. Employers may require reasonable notice from employees requesting paid leave, but must provide a written policy outlining the procedural requirements of providing notice.

To learn more about requirements of the Act, exceptions, and what employers need to know about updating their employee handbook, current leave policies, payroll system, and any other relevant policies, please contact a Buckley Fine attorney at 847-381-0011 or email us at attorneys@buckleyfinelaw.com.