Illinois Requires Paid Leave for All Workers

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Starting in 2024, Illinois Requires Paid Leave for All Workers 

On March 13, 2023, SB208 also known as the Paid Leave for All Workers Act was signed into law. Starting January 1, 2024, nearly all employees will be able to earn and use up to 40 hours of paid leave. This is during a 12-month period “for any purpose” of the employee’s choosing. Many businesses will have to design a system to keep their organization running smoothly with the additional leave taken.

SB208 makes Illinois the third state in the country, and the first in the Midwest, to mandate paid time off to be used for any reason. This law applies to all private sector employers, as well as most state and local governments. Seasonal workers i.e., lifeguards, federal employees and college students working temporary jobs for their university are exempt. The law will also exempt employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement in the construction industry and parcel delivery industry.

Employees will accrue one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours total, although the employer may offer more. Employees will be paid their full wage while on leave and tipped workers will be paid the minimum wage in their respective locale.

Illinois employers should take the following steps to comply with these expanded requirements before January 1, 2024:

  • Review and/or revise policies to ensure they are compliant with the expanded paid leave requirements.
  • Train managers and human resources on SB208’s requirements.
  • Consult the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) website. It will be updated later to provide guidance and a template for the required notice to employees.

Proponents of the law say paid leave is key to making sure workers, especially more vulnerable, low-income workers, can take time off when needed. This law helps remove the fear of reprisal from an employer. Critics say the law will overburden small businesses already struggling to survive the post-pandemic era amid the high inflation. With advanced planning hopefully small businesses can manage the new law without additional hardship.