August 29, 2023
Illinois law requires employers to provide paid leave effective January 1, 2024
Effective January 1 2024, SB 0208 requires employers to provide employees working within Illinois up to 40 hours of paid leave per 12-month period.
Employees must be employed for 90 days before they are entitled to use paid leave and employees hired before January 1, 2024, can begin using paid leave effective March 31, 2024.
Governor J.B. Pritzker stated in a press release that under the law, "1.5 million workers will begin earning paid time off starting in 2024."
Accrual of paid leave
Paid leave accrues at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked up to a minimum of 40 hours in the 12-month period. An employer's policy may allow for more than 40 hours of paid leave.
Employees exempt from overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act are deemed to work 40 hours in each workweek unless their workweek is normally less than 40 hours, in which case paid leave is based on the hours in their regular workweek.
The 12-month period may be any consecutive 12 months designated by the employer and stipulated to employees in writing at the time of hire. Employers may change the 12-month period provided written notice is given to employees prior to the change and the change does not reduce the eligible accrual rate and paid leave available to employees.
Taking paid leave
Employees may take paid leave for any reason and are not required to provide their employers with the reason for the leave or documentation or certification as proof or support of their leave.
As a condition of taking paid leave, employers cannot require employees to search for or find a replacement to cover the hours during which they are out on leave.
Employees also have the option to choose whether they use paid leave under this law before or after using any other leave provided by the employer or under state law.
Employee notice requirements
An employer must provide paid leave to employees upon an oral or written request in accordance with the employer's reasonable paid leave notification policy, which may include the following:
Employers must provide employees with a written notice of the employee leave notification requirements within five calendar days of any change in the policy.
Impact on Illinois local paid leave laws
The state's paid leave law does not apply to employers covered by an Illinois municipal or county paid leave or sick leave ordinance that was effective on or before January 1, 2024.
If localities adopt or amend their paid leave or sick leave laws after January 1, 2024, employers must comply with those local laws provided the benefits, rights and remedies are equal to or greater than those under the state's paid leave law.
Ernst & Young LLP insights
Employers of employees in Chicago and Cook County will benefit from the fact that they will be subject only to the current Chicago and Cook County paid sick leave ordinances.
The Illinois state paid leave law does not prevent other Illinois localities from adopting their own paid leave ordinances, rather, it only requires that the local ordinances adopted after January 1, 2024, offer equal or better benefits, rights and remedies.
Published by NTD’s Tax Technical Knowledge Services group; Andrea Ben-Yosef, legal editor