NEW LAW REQUIRES EMPLOYERS TO PROVIDE PAID LEAVE FOR ANY REASON
- Effective January 1, 2024, the Paid Leave for All Workers Act (the “PLFAW Act”) will require most employers in Illinois to provide employees with paid leave that may be taken for any reason.
- Employers must either (1) provide at least 40 hours of paid leave at the beginning of the 12-month period; or (2) allow employees to accrue leave at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked, up to a minimum of 40 hours of accrued leave in a 12‑month period.
- Employers that use the “up front” method need not carry forward any unused leave into the next year and may maintain a “use it or lose it” policy. However, employers that use the accrual method must carry forward any accrued but unused paid leave; there is no cap on the amount of leave carried forward, but employers may limit the use of paid leave in the 12-month period to 40 hours.
- For employees who receive the 40 hours of paid leave “up‑front,” the leave may be used immediately. Employees are entitled to use leave 90 days after accrual begins.
Use of Leave
- Employers may set a minimum increment of daily paid leave usage of two hours per day, but employees are entitled to determine how much leave they need to use at a given time.
- If the need for leave is not foreseeable, then employees must provide notice as soon as practicable. If the need for leave is foreseeable, employees may be required to provide seven calendar days’ notice.
- Employees also have the right to use paid leave under the Act before using any other leave available to them.
Pay Upon Termination
- Employers are not required to pay out accrued but unused paid leave upon an employee’s separation from employment. However, if the employer rehires a separated employee within 12 months, all previously accrued but unused paid time off must be reinstated and available for use immediately.
- The PLFAW Act applies to all employers, except those who provide paid leave, including paid sick leave, under a municipal or county ordinance in effect on January 1, 2024. Currently, only Cook County and the City of Chicago have such ordinances. Therefore, employers obligated to provide paid sick leave under Cook County or the City of Chicago ordinances would be exempt from the PLFAW Act’s provisions.
- Are employees subject to a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) covered? The PLFAW Act states that its requirements can be waived in a bona fide CBA if the waiver is set forth explicitly in such agreement in clear and unambiguous terms. For CBAs that are still in effect as of January 1, 2024, the law states that nothing in the PLFAW Act shall affect the validity or change the terms of the CBA. However, the PLFAW Act does not apply to employees covered by a CBA with a state agency, employers in the construction industry, or employers who provide services nationally and internationally of delivery, pickup, and transportation of documents, parcels, and freight.