Labor Law

Understanding the New Paid Time Off Law

As of January 1, 2024, Illinois has put into effect the Paid Leave for All Workers Act (PLAW Act), a monumental step towards upholding workers’ rights. Under this law, most employees in Illinois are entitled to a minimum of 40 hours of paid leave within 12 months for any purpose. 

While this represents a positive change, there are still areas open to interpretation and adjustment. Nevertheless, employers must ensure compliance with the law.

Earning Paid Leave

Employees can accrue leave based on hours worked, with at least one hour earned for every 40 hours worked, or employers can frontload the full 40 hours at the beginning of the benefit period. 

Accrual must begin on the first day of employment, with the option to delay usage for up to 90 days. Part-time employees are also entitled to paid leave, with options for accrual or frontloading.

Carryover and Frontloading

Employers must allow unused leave to carry over to the next year, up to 80 hours. Alternatively, frontloading provides employees with the full 40 hours at the start of the benefit period. Proper calculation and proration are crucial, ensuring employees receive what they would earn through accrual.

Preexisting Policies

Employers with existing paid leave policies can maintain them if they meet PLAW Act requirements. However, adjustments may be necessary to align with the new law’s provisions.

Use and Denial of Leave

Employees can use paid leave for any reason, though employers can set terms and conditions, such as requiring reasonable notice. Denial is possible only if it aligns with the employer’s operational needs and certain criteria are met.

Recordkeeping and Posting

Employers must keep detailed records of paid leave transactions and provide this information to employees upon request. Notices about the PLAW Act must be prominently displayed in the workplace.

Collective Bargaining Agreements

Existing collective bargaining agreements remain unaffected, though new agreements must comply with the PLAW Act unless expressly waived.

Exemptions for Chicago and Cook County

Employers in municipalities with existing paid leave laws, like Chicago and Cook County, are exempt from the PLAW Act. However, they must adhere to local ordinances.

Contact Gandhi Selim Law to Learn More

Illinois’ Paid Leave for All Workers Act marks a significant milestone in employee rights. Compliance is essential for employers, with careful attention to the Act’s provisions. For legal guidance and support in navigating these changes, contact Gandhi Selim Law today.

Published by
Gandhi Selim Law

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