Employees in Illinois will start 2017 with many new protections covering their employment. These protections will increase their competitiveness and safety within the workforce. Among these changes, the following are the most significant amendments to be aware of:
Changes to the law now allow employees to use sick leave benefits (if their employer provides those benefits) to take care of themselves and their family. Employees can use sick leave to care for biological or step-children, spouses, siblings, or their parents or step-parents. They may also use sick leave to take care of grandchildren or grandparents.
Child Bereavement Leave
Employees who are covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act can take up to two weeks of unpaid bereavement leave following the death of a child. This time can be spent making funeral arrangements, attending the funeral, and grieving the child’s passing.
Employers may not force employees earning less than $13 per hour to enter into non-compete agreements. This change will make it easier for workers to pursue employment with competitors and will increase their ability to negotiate for higher income.
The Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act has been amended to provide greater protection for employees. Employers are now prohibited from asking or coercing employees to provide access to the employee’s personal online accounts. Employers are also prohibited from requiring employees to allow the employer into groups that are affiliated with the employee’s online accounts. Finally, employers may not retaliate against employees who refuse an employer’s requests in this regard.
Revoking Wage Assignments
Employees now have the ability to revoke wage assignments at any time simply by submitting written notice to their creditors. They no longer need to go through their company’s payroll or HR departments to do this.
Secure Choice Savings
The Secure Choice Savings Program is a retirement plan that allows employees to plan for the future. Illinois employers with 25 or more employees or those that have been in business for more than two years are required to offer this non-employer sponsored plan or a private-market alternative to their employees.
These changes to the law are supported by Illinois employment lawyers as they will improve working conditions and worker competitiveness in the state. Employers who fail to adhere to these changes starting January 1st, 2017 can be subjected to civil penalties including fines, loss of license, etc.