The Illinois Paid Leave for All Workers (PLAW) Act went into effect January 1, 2024, and has  an impact on most Illinois employers, regardless of size or industry (with the exception of school and park districts). Here are some key insights about the act that can help save you time, money, and headaches.

The Highlights

PLAW mandates that Illinois employers provide covered employees up to 40 hours of paid leave per year to be used for any purpose. This may not require you to totally revamp your current policies. In fact, you may use other paid leave policies to satisfy obligations to provide paid leave under this rule.

An employer is not required to modify its current policy if it satisfies the minimum amount of leave required under the act (up to 40 hours) for all employees and the employee is permitted to take paid leave for any reason.

An employee is defined here in the same manner it is in the Illinois Wage Payment & Collection Act (WPCA). It covers any individual permitted to work by an employer in an occupation; however, it does not include those who have been and will continue to be free from control and direction over performance of their work, such as contractors with an established trade, occupation, profession, or business.

The paid time off benefit covers any need for leave, not limited to illness. An employer can restrict employees from using the benefit in the first 90 days of employment, and they may require up to 7 days’ advance notice for a foreseeable reason for leave. If the reason is unforeseeable, such as an illness or family emergency, employees need only provide as much notice as is reasonable under the circumstances. The employer can’t require documentation or certification to support the employee’s need for use of paid time off.

As of January 1, all new and existing employees must accrue at least one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked.

Tips for Successful Compliance

  • Review existing policies to determine whether they meet minimum standards for compliance.
  • Follow notice and recordkeeping requirements. For instance, you must post a notice (provided by the Illinois Department of Labor) in a conspicuous place on your premises and include this information in your written employee manual or policy.
  • Consider different levels of benefits for employees in categories not previously included in vacation or paid time-off policies but who are now eligible for this benefit, such as part-time “casual” employees or pool staff who work only as needed.

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