New Illinois Act Grants Employees a Minimum of 40 Hours Paid Leave Annually

Employees urged to seek workers compensation benefits if employers do not comply

Starting Jan. 1 2024, A new act in Illinois now guarantees employees a minimum of 40 hours of paid leave during a 12-month period, allowing them to use this time for any purpose without providing a reason or documentation. The act aims to improve employees’ rights and working conditions across the state.

Paid Leave for All Workers Act.

Under the provisions of the new act, paid leave accrues at a rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked, up to a minimum of 40 hours. Employees can begin using their accrued paid leave 90 days after the commencement of employment or the effective date of the act, whichever is later.

Paid leave under this Act may be taken by an employee for any reason of the employee’s choosing. An employee is not required to provide an employer a reason for the leave and may not be required to provide documentation or certification as proof or in support of the leave. An employee may choose
whether to use paid leave provided under this Act prior to using any other leave provided by the employer or State law.

Employers are required to maintain employees’ group health plan coverage during paid leave at the same level as if the employee had not taken leave. Additionally, employees can carry over unused paid leave to the following year. However, they are not entitled to financial compensation for unused paid leave upon termination or separation from employment.

The act also protects employees in cases of transfer or rehiring within the same employer. If an employee is transferred within the same company, they retain their accrued paid leave. If they are rehired within 12 months of separation, their previously accrued paid leave is reinstated.

It is important for employees to know that they cannot waive their rights under this act, as any agreement to do so would be considered void against public policy.

The new act does not apply to employers covered by municipal or county ordinances that require paid leave, but these employers must comply with the act’s requirements or provide equal or greater benefits, rights, and remedies.

Employees are encouraged to seek workers compensation benefits if their employer does not follow the provisions of this new act. By ensuring their rights are protected, employees can enjoy a better work-life balance and improved working conditions.

The new Illinois act strengthens employees’ rights by guaranteeing a minimum of 40 hours of paid leave each year. Employees should be aware of their rights under this act and seek workers compensation benefits if their employer fails to comply with these provisions.