Skip to main content
Top Button
Five Updates to Illinois Laws Employers Should Know for 2019 Five Updates to Illinois Laws Employers Should Know for 2019

Five Updates to Illinois Laws Employers Should Know for 2019

Below is a summary of important updates to Illinois employment law. You should consider examining your policies to make sure you are in compliance with the new rules.
  1. Amendment to Illinois Wage Payment Act, 820 ILCS 115 et seq.: Effective January 1, 2019, an amendment to the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA) requires employers to reimburse employees for all expenditures or losses incurred within the scope of their employment, and which were authorized or required by their employer. Going forward, Illinois employers must reimburse employees for “all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee within the employee’s scope of employment and directly related to services performed for the employer.” 820 ILCS 115/9.5. “Necessary expenditures” means all reasonable expenditures or losses required of the employee in the discharge of employment duties and that inure to the primary benefit of the employer.

Reimbursement is not required for:

  • Expenses or losses that arise from the employee’s own negligence;
  • Losses attributable to normal wear;
  • Losses due to theft (unless the theft occurred as a result of the employer’s negligence);
  • Expenses not authorized or required by the employer;
  • Expenses not submitted in compliance with the employer’s written expense reimbursement policy, unless the employer also fails to follow its policy; and
  • de minimus reimbursement
The new law requires employees to submit “appropriate” supporting documentation for any necessary expenditure within 30 calendar days after incurring the expense, unless the employer’s written policy provides for more time. However, even if supporting documentation does not exist, is missing, or is lost, the law permits employees to submit “a signed statement regarding any such receipts.” The law does not specify what a “statement” regarding a receipt must contain, whether an employer without a written policy must accept a reimbursement request after 30 days, and/or whether an employer can impose a shorter period for submitting documentation.
The new law permits Illinois employers to establish written expense reimbursement policies that set guidelines for the types of expenses and dollar amounts that will be reimbursed, and the employer may deny reimbursement if the employee fails to comply with the employer’s written policy.
  1. Illinois Equal Pay Act, 820 ILCS 112, et. seq. - Equal Pay Protections For African-American Employees: The law previously prohibited employers from gender-based pay discrimination. Now, the law has been amended to ensure equal pay between African-Americans and non-African-Americans who are performing the same or substantially similar work. The Amendment prohibits employers from paying African-Americans less than non-African-Americans who are performing “the same or substantially similar work on a job that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility and is performed under similar working conditions."
  1. Illinois Nursing Mothers In The Workplace Act, 820 ILCS 260, et seq.  – Paid Breaks for Nursing Mothers: The Act applies to employers with more than five employees and grants reasonable break time each day to an employee needing to express breast milk for her infant child. The amendments appear to prohibit employers from reducing an employee’s compensation for time spent for the purpose of expressing milk. Previously, employees could use their existing compensated breaks (usually 20 minutes or less pursuant to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act) to express milk, but any excess break time could be uncompensated. The amendments now imply that reasonable lactation breaks lasting longer than 20 minutes must be compensated..
  1. Changes to the Illinois Human Rights Act for 2019
  • Time to file charge of discrimination: Consistent with federal law, employees now have 300 days to file a Charge of Discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) for alleged violations of the IHRA. Previously, Illinois employees only had 180 days to file a charge at the IDHR.
  • New notice requirement and right to sue requests: Illinois employers must include in an employee handbook information concerning an employee’s rights under the IHRA, including the right to be free from unlawful discrimination and sexual harassment and the right to certain reasonable accommodations.
  • Opt-out Provision: An individual who files a charge under the IHRA may now opt-out of the IDHR’s administrative investigation process and proceed directly to Illinois state court. To exercise this provision, the employee must send notice of his or her intent to opt out of the IDHR investigation within 60 days of receiving notice from the IDHR of the employee’s right to opt-out. The IDHR must send notice of the employee’s right to opt-out within 10 days of the date the charge was filed. Once the employee’s request is granted, he or she has 90 days to file suit in state court.
  1. Protecting Stalking Victims’ Employment Rights: Illinois expanded the Illinois Human Rights Act to provide victims of workplace stalking with further protection, including providing reasonable, unpaid leave for court dates.
For more information, contact Heather Adams or another member of our Labor, Employment and Immigration Group.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader’s specific circumstances.
View Full Site View Mobile Optimized