The Illinois Sick Leave Act, which first went into effect on January 1, 2017, has made a few changes to the way employers are required to let their employees make use of their sick leave benefits. Before, it only required them to let employees take time off for their own health issues. The changes in the Sick Leave Act make it so that employers now have to allow those same employees to take sick leave to take care of ill family members rather than just to recover from an illness themselves. This is an excellent way to get employers to provide their employees with some form of additional benefits, and it greatly expands sick leave rather than just giving employees the bare bones basics.
The New Sick Leave Act
This new sick leave act covers anyone who is an employee in the state of Illinois. It doesn't matter who they are, where they work, or how much they make at their job. It applies to every single person who has a job in Illinois, and it requires employers to make what sick leave they do provide much more flexible than what was required previously. Anyone who is sick is required to be freely covered by employee insurance, but this is how it was before and this remains unchanged. The major changes come down to the fact that this coverage now extends to employees who need to spend time caring for family members.
- Must let employees use their policy to care for qualifying family members.
- If a similar policy already exists for employees then no changes need to be made.
- Employers with at least 50 employees who worked for 20 weeks minimum during this and last year will be required to provide employees with this coverage.
- Some employers may require employees using their sick leave for this purpose to provide written verification from a healthcare professional.
- Employers can't fire, threaten to fire, or demote employees for using their sick leave to care for injured or ill members of their family.
However, this new policy does not cover everything and it's important to consider what is excluded.
- Only employers with a minimum of 50 employees within a certain area are required to provide this coverage.
- Employees are required to have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year to qualify.
These changes to the various employer sick leave policies, be they paid or unpaid, helps to provide their employees with more flexibility to take care of family members without having to take unpaid leave or simply not coming to work and hoping their employer will understand that it was necessary. Now, employees in Illinois can trust that if they need time off to take care of a relative, then their leave policy will cover it. This change to sick leave will help take the pressure off employees in Illinois who need time off to care for family members.
If you have questions about how the new Illinois sick leave law might affect you or your family, contact the offices of Benassi & Benassi, P.C., today at (309) 674-3556.