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New Year – New Employment Laws!

As we all start to head back to work and focus on trying to remember to write “2023” instead of “2022” now, we also need to review changes to employment law that went into effect on January 1st.  Each state will have their own listing of new laws on their Department of Labor website, but here are the key ones for Illinois and Chicago as we start this new year:

New Minimum Wage

As of January 1st, the State of Illinois’s new minimum wage across the state is $13 per hour, $7.80 per hour for those that receive tips and $10.50 per hour for those under 18 working less than 650 hours a year.  In Cook County, the minimum wage is $13.30 per hour.  In the City of Chicago, the minimum wage won’t increase again until July 1st, but if you have more than 21 employees their current minimum wage should be $15.40 per hour (those receiving tips should be $9.24 per hour) and if you have only 4-20 employees then their current minimum wage is $14.50 per hour (rising to $15.00 on July 1st) and $8.70 per hour if receiving tips.

One Day Rest in Seven

An employer is now required to give an employee a consecutive 24 hours off for each 7-day period.  There is a new employment law poster to go along with this that must also be posted along with your other employment notices.  The only exceptions to this change are: those covered under Collective Bargaining Agreements, exempts employees in the Executive, Administrative (Executive or administrative personnel means individuals employed by a corporation or labor organization who are paid on a salary rather than hourly basis and who have policymaking, managerial, professional, or supervisory responsibilities) or Sales roles as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act, certain Supervisors as defined by the National Labor Relations Act (those with independent authority to: hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline other employees, or responsibly to direct them, or to adjust their grievances, or effectively to recommend such action) and part-time employees who regularly work less than 20 hours per week.

Rest and Meal Breaks

An additional 20-minute meal break has been added for every 4.5 continuous hours worked over the initial 7.5 hours in a day.

Family Bereavement Leave Act

Employers who are subject to the Family Medical Leave Act (have 50 employees within a 75-mile radius) are now subject to the Family Bereavement Leave Act which allows up to 10 unpaid days off to grieve any family member, attend a funeral or to make funeral arrangements.  The days must be used within 60 days of the event and employees should give at least 45 hours’ notice of needed time off, when possible.  As with the Family Medical Leave Act, employees are not eligible for this additional unpaid time off until they have worked for the company for 12 months and worked at least 1250 hours during the previous 12-month period.

CROWN Act

The CROWN Act stands for “Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair” making it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee because of their hairstyle or texture associated with a particular race.  Employers may continue to impose dress code and grooming policies, so long as those policies do not restrict or violate the CROWN Act.

Annual Reporting of the EEO-1 Report

Private businesses with 100 or more employees already must file the EEO-1 report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which includes payroll and diversity information, but now they must also include this information in the Annual Corporate Report to the Illinois Secretary of State.  The state reporting will also include gender, race and ethnicity employment data (similar to Section D of the EEO-1 form).

Equal Pay Certification

Employers with more than 100 employees are now required to acquire certification every two years called the “Equal Pay Registration Certification.”  The certification acknowledges that the Employer recognizes that it will comply with all Federal and State laws that guarantee equal pay for females and minorities.  Employers with less than 100 employees must also file to state that they are not subject to this certification requirement due to their employee base size.

Freedom to Work Act

Non-compete Agreements are barred for employees making less than $75,000 annually (this will increase to $90,000 by 2037).

Non-solicitation Agreements are barred for employees making less than $45,000 annually.

Employees provided with these agreements for signature must be informed of their right to consult an attorney and be allowed 14 days to consider such agreements.  The fee-shifting provision of these agreements is to be removed as employees will no longer be responsible for enforcement actions that do not prevail.

Sexual Harassment Training

While Illinois requires that all employees, regardless of company size, receive one-hour of Sexual Harassment Prevention training each year, Chicago is now requiring two additional training segments: all employees must receive one hour Bystander Sexual Prevention training and Supervisors & Managers must also receive a separate one-hour Sexual Harassment Prevention training geared specifically at their roles.  Chicago requires this training be completed by June 30, 2023.

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