On March 13, 2023, Governor Pritzker of the State of Illinois signed the Paid Leave for All Workers Act (PLFAW) into law. PLFAW will take effect on January 1, 2024, leaving employers with less than one year to prepare.
PLFAW requires employers to grant earned paid leave to their employees. Employees will earn one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours of paid leave per year. Employees may not begin using their leave until 90 days have passed but an employer at its own discretion may allow an employee to begin using their leave sooner.
Paid leave may be used for any reason and the employee is not required to provide a reason for using the earned leave. Documentation and certification for the leave cannot be required by employers. An employer may require up to seven days’ notice from an employee for use of the leave as long as these notice expectations are communicated to employees through written and distributed policies. If the leave must be used spontaneously and without sufficient notice, the employee is expected to give notice as soon as is practical and possible. Employers may set a reasonable minimum increment of no less than two hours per day of leave used but may also allow an employee to take more leave all at once. An employer may choose to award the paid leave all at once in a lump sum equivalent to the twelve-month period where earned paid leave would accrue or may allow for the leave to accrue naturally over the twelve-month period.
Paid leave under PLFAW will not require employers to compensate employees for their accrued paid leave when the employment relationship ends. However, if the employer chooses to credit paid leave under the PLFAW to an existing vacation or paid time off bank, the employer will be required to compensate an employee for the unused and accrued paid time off in accordance with Illinois law and rules regarding pay out of vacation time. If the employment relationship is terminated and then resumed within a twelve month period, an employer will be required to restore the same amount of paid leave time earned to that employee. Paid leave will carry over into the next year if it is unused by year’s end. If the employer chooses to award the leave all at once in a lump sum at the beginning of the twelve month period or date of hire, then the employer will not be required to carry over the unused leave into the next twelve month period. In any event, an employer is not required to allow an employee to use more than 40 hours of paid leave within a twelve-month period.
Employers will be required to post in the standard posting location at their place of employment an Illinois Department of Labor produced notice providing information about the Act and its implications for employees, including their rights and remedies under the act. PLFAW requires employers to record and document the amount of accrued leave, leave used, and remaining leave amounts for each employee. An employer who allows leave to accrue naturally rather than awarding it in one lump sum must be able to produce upon request the amount of leave accrued or used by an employee. These records must be preserved and made available to the Illinois Department of Labor upon request for a period of three years.
PLFAW will not alter collective bargaining agreements in existence prior to January 1, 2024 and the requirements of the Act may be waived in future collective bargaining agreements. PLFAW prohibits retaliation against employees for exercising their rights under Act. It also creates a process for filing complaints against employers for violating the obligations of PLFAW before the Illinois Department of Labor.
In advance of the January 1, 2024 implementation date, employers should review existing policies and practices concerning their obligations to provide paid leave under PLFAW and educate managers and human resources staff on the efficient implementation of policies to meet these demands. McMahon Berger, P.C. will continue to monitor developments concerning PLFAW and provide updates as they occur.
The St. Louis employment attorneys at McMahon Berger have been representing employers across the country in labor and employment matters for over sixty years and are available to discuss these issues and others. As always, the foregoing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice regarding any particular situation as every situation must be evaluated on its own facts. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.