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Illinois Employment Law Updates 02/18/2019

    February 18, 2019

    $ 15/Hour Minimum Wage Legislation Goes to Governor Pritzker

     

    The Illinois House passed SB 1 (Sen. Lightford/Rep. Guzzardi), a bill to increase the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 and $13 for those under 18 by 2025. The legislation now goes to Gov. Pritzker where a swift signature is expected. All House Republicans voted against the measure and were joined by Democrats Rep. Monica Bristow (Alton), Rep. Terra Costa Howard (Lombard), Rep. Jerry Costello (Red Bud) and Rep. Mary Edly-Allen (Libertyville). Stephanie Kifowit (D-Aurora) voted "present". The legislation had been approved by the Senate the prior week on a partisan rollcall 39 Senate Democrats voting "yes" to 18 Senate Republicans voting "no".

    Date of Change

    Minimum Wage

    Teen Wage

    Current

    $8.25

    $7.75

    1/1/20

    $9.25

    $8.00

    7/1/20

    $10.00

    NA

    1/1/21

    $11.00

    $8.50

    1/1/22

    $12.00

    $9.25

    1/1/23

    $13.00

    $10.50

    1/1/24

    $14.00

    $12.00

    1/1/25

    $15.00

    $13.00

     
    Teen wage is determined as under the age of 18 and working less than 650 hours per calendar year. 

    Unfortunately, the sponsors of SB 1 were unwilling to the Illinois Chamber and other business groups' request of a proposed geographical minimum wage that would soften the blow to suburban and downstate communities. In one year, the wage rate jumps from $8.25 to $10.00 a 33% increase.

    The amended bill passed also includes a complex payroll deduction tax credit for employers of 50 or fewer employees.

     
    Click here to see how your state Representative voted.

     

    Click here to see how your State Senator voted.


    Please note that SB 1 also increase penalties and fines for violation of the Minimum Wage Act. An employee may recover TREBLE damages of any underpayment along with costs, attorney's fees and damages of 5% per month (previously 2%) of the amount of each underpayment following the date of payment such underpayments remain unpaid. In addition, if the employer's conduct is proven by a preponderance of the evidence to be willful, repeated, or with reckless disregard, the employer is liable to the Department of Labor a penalty of $1,500 payable to its Wage Theft Enforcement Fund.

     
    The measure also allows the Department to conduct random audits of employers to determine compliance.

     

    Bill Introductions

     

    Today, is the deadline for bill introduction. Below is a list of key employment law issues that have been introduced as of the end of the day yesterday. We will follow-up with additional information on bill introductions next week.

     

    Workplace Mandates:

     

    HB 9 (Rep. Flowers) creates the Paid Maternity Leave Act, requiring private employers with 50 or more employees to provide 6 weeks of paid leave for an employee who takes leave (1) for the birth of a child of the employee; (2) to care for a newly adopted child/placed foster child under 18 years of age or over the age of 18 incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability; (3) to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Employee is eligible after one year of employment with covered employer and irrespective of the employer's leave policy. Assigned to the House Labor & Commerce Committee

     

    HB 2343 (Rep. Gordon-Booth) creates the Healthy Workplace Act requiring employers to provide specified paid sick days to employees. Sets forth the purposes for and manner in which the sick days may be used. Contains provisions regarding employer responsibilities, unlawful employer practices, and other matters. Provides that the Department of Labor shall administer the Act. Authorizes the imposition of civil penalties and individuals to file civil actions with respect to violations. Effective immediately. Rules Committee awaiting assignment to a standing committee.

     

    HB 2533(Rep. Mah) creates the Transportation Benefit Program Act requiring an employer that is situated in Cook County and for which an average of 20 or more full-time employees work for compensation to offer a program that allows a covered employee to elect to exclude from taxable wages and compensation the employee's commuting costs incurred for the purchase of a transit pass to use public transit up to a maximum level allowed by federal tax law. Allows an employer to comply by participating in a program offered by the Chicago Transit Authority or the Regional Transit Authority. Effective January 1, 2020. Rules Committee awaiting assignment to a standing committee.

     

    SB 75(Sen. Villivalam) creates the Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act, which requires hotels and casinos to adopt anti-sexual harassment policies and make panic buttons available to certain employees. Prohibits retaliation against an employee for using a panic button, availing him/herself of the protections afforded by an anti-sexual harassment policy, or disclosing, reporting, or testifying about violations of the Act. Provides remedies for noncompliance. Limits home rule powers. Effective immediately. Assigned to Senate Labor Committee

     

    Employment Discrimination:

     

    HB 252(Rep. Guzzardi) amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to change the definition of "employer" to include any person employing one (instead of 15) or more employees within Illinois during 20 or more calendar weeks within the calendar year of or preceding the alleged violation. Assigned to House Labor & Commerce Committee

     

    HB 905(Rep. Gong-Gershowitz) creates the Private Sector Workplace Anti-Harassment Task Force Act to create model policies and best practices to keep workplaces safe from sexual harassment. Requires the Department of Human Rights to provide administrative support to the Task Force. Requires the model policies and best practices to be finalized by March 1, 2020 and posted on the Department of Human Rights' website within 30 days after finalization. Repeals the Act on March 1, 2021. Effective immediately. Assigned to House Economic Opportunity & Equity Committee

     

    HB 2061(Rep. Gong-Gershowitz) amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to allow charges alleging a violation under provisions concerning employment may be filed and deemed timely filed within 3 years after the date of the alleged violation, currently 300 days. Effective immediately. Referred to House Rules Committee.

     

    HB 2062(Rep. Gong-Gershowitz) creates the Freedom to Disclose Act prohibiting an employer from requiring an employee or prospective employee to sign a nondisclosure agreement, waiver, or other document that prevents the employee from disclosing sexual harassment or sexual violence occurring in the workplace, at work-related events coordinated by or through the employer, or between employees or an employer and employee off the employment premises. Any such nondisclosure agreement is void. Referred to House Rules Committee

     

    HB 2063(Rep. Gong-Gershowitz) amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to require an employer with 50 or more employees to maintain records of employee complaints alleging sexual harassment and retain such records for a period of no less than 10 years after the date on which the complaint was received by the employer. Intentional destruction or failure to maintain such records may be considered interference and a civil rights violation. Referred to House Rules Committee

     

    HB 2167(Rep. Lilly) amends the Illinois Human Rights Act allowing a formerly convicted person to petition the Department of Human Rights for a grant of protected class status. The protection shall be granted if the person has complied with each term and condition of his or her parole, mandatory supervised release, probation, or conditional discharge; the person has obtained a high school diploma or received a high school equivalency certificate; the person is employed or actively seeking employment or is enrolled in or has successfully completed a vocational training or college educational program; the person has not been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor within the last 5 years; and the person has completed all sanctions imposed upon him or her through due process of law. Referred to House Rules Committee

     

    HB 2181(Rep. Stava-Murray) amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to create a civil rights violation for an employer with 50 or more employees that requires an employee to sign a nondisclosure agreement if the employee is leaving his or her employment due to sexual harassment or assault; or fail to sign a nondisclosure agreement regarding the employee leaving his or her employment due to sexual harassment or assault.  Allows an employee to waive, in writing, the provisions of the employer's nondisclosure agreement for the purposes of commenting to a journalist. An employer that violates the provisions is subject to a $25,000 penalty and that the Department of Human Rights, after an investigation, may increase the amount of the penalty depending on the grievance of the violation. Effective immediately. Referred to Rules Committee

     

    SB 30(Sen. Bush) Creates the Workplace Transparency Act to prohibit an employer from requiring an employee or to sign a nondisclosure agreement that contains any provision that has the purpose or effect of: limiting the disclosure of sexual misconduct, retaliation, or unlawful discrimination; suppressing information relevant to an investigation into a claim of sexual misconduct, retaliation, or unlawful discrimination; impairing the ability of any person to report a claim of sexual misconduct, retaliation, or unlawful discrimination; or waiving a substantive or procedural right or remedy of any person relating to a claim of sexual misconduct, retaliation, or unlawful discrimination. Provides that any such provision is void as against public policy and unenforceable, and that agreements that contain such provisions and were entered into before the effective date of the Act are voidable by a party who entered into the agreement under specified circumstances. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee

     

    SB 38(Sen. Bush) amends the Illinois Human Rights Act adding independent contractors to the definition of "employee". Adds procedures following an employer's failure to post required notices; and employer disclosure requirements. Creates the Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act. Requires hotels and casinos to adopt anti-sexual harassment policies and make panic buttons available to certain employees. Limits home rule powers. Amends the Illinois Freedom to Work Act to prohibit nondisclosure agreements between employers and low-wage employees. Amends the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act to make the Act applicable in instances of sexual violence or harassment. Changes the definition of "sexual harassment" in the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act and the Lobbyist Registration Act. Referred to Senate Assignments

     

    Wage Hour/Equal Pay:

     

    HB 358/SB 161 (Rep. Hoffman/Sen. Curran) amends the Attorney General Act to create the Worker Protection Unit within the Office of the Illinois Attorney General to intervene in, initiate, enforce, and defend all criminal or civil legal proceedings on matters and violations relating to specified statutes. Creates further powers and requirements of the Attorney General in the Worker Protection Unit. Requires the Task Force to submit a report to the Governor and the General Assembly regarding its progress no later than December 1, 2020. Repeals the Task Force December 1, 2021. Assigned to House Labor & Commerce Committee

     

    HB 834/SB 73 (Rep. Moeller/Sen. Castro) amends the Equal Pay Act of 2003 to prohibit an employer from:  (i) screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history, (ii) requiring that an applicant's prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria, and (iii) requesting or requiring as a condition of being interviewed or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment that an applicant disclose prior wages or salary. Prohibits an employer from seeking the salary, including benefits or other compensation or salary history, of a job applicant from any current or former employer, with some exceptions. Limits defenses. Provides for penalties and injunctive relief. Assigned House Labor & Commerce Committee

     

    HB 881(Rep. McDermed) amends the Equal Pay Act of 2003 to provide that it is unlawful for an employer to require an employee to sign a contract or waiver that would prohibit the employee from disclosing or discussing the employee's wage or salary; however, an employer may prohibit a human resources employee, a supervisor, or any other employee whose job responsibilities require or allow access to other employees' wage or salary information from disclosing such information without prior written consent from the employee whose information is sought or requested. Provides that it is unlawful for an employer to seek the wage or salary history of a prospective employee from the prospective employee or a current or former employer or to require that a prospective employee's prior wage or salary history meet certain criteria, with some exceptions. Provides that an employer against whom an action is brought alleging a violation of the Act's prohibition against gender-based wage differentials and who, within the previous 3 years and prior to the commencement of the action, has completed a self-evaluation of the employer's pay practices in good faith and can demonstrate that reasonable progress has been made toward eliminating wage differentials based on gender for the same or substantially similar work in accordance with that evaluation shall have an affirmative defense to liability. Provides that an employer who cannot demonstrate that the evaluation was reasonable in detail and scope shall not be entitled to an affirmative defense. Provides that if an employee recovers unpaid wages under the Act and also files a complaint or brings a sex discrimination action under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 that results in additional recovery under federal law for the same violation, the employee shall return to the employer the amounts recovered under State law or the amounts recovered under federal law, whichever is less. Assigned to House Labor & Commerce Committee

     

    HB 1653/SB 163 (Rep. Hernandez/Sen. Castro) amends the Illinois Procurement Code. Prohibits any person or business that violates the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, the Minimum Wage Law, the Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the Employee Classification Act, the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, or any comparable statute or regulation of any state that governs the payment of wages to do business with the State or any State agency or enter into a subcontract that is subject to the Code for a period of 5 years. Amends the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act. Provides that every offer submitted to the State, every contract and subcontract executed by the State, and every submission to a vendor portal shall contain a certification that the certifying party is not barred from being awarded a contract or subcontract, and acknowledgment that the chief procurement officer may declare void the bid, offer, or contract on the basis that any of the certifications are false. Provides that any employee not timely paid wages, final compensation, or wage supplements by his or her employer shall be entitled to recover treble the amount of any such underpayments plus damages of 2% of the amount of any such underpayments for each month following the date of payment during which such underpayments remain unpaid. Provides that a subsequent failure to pay within 5 years (rather than 2 years) of a prior conviction is a Class 4 felony. Referred to Senate Assignments

     

    Adult Cannabis:

     

    HB 902(Rep. Ammons) creates the Cannabis Legalization Equity Act. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, except as otherwise provided in the Act, the following acts are lawful and shall not be a criminal or civil offense under State law or the law of any political subdivision of this State or be a basis for seizure or forfeiture of assets under State law for persons 21 years of age or older: (1) possessing, consuming, using, displaying, purchasing, or transporting cannabis accessories; (2) possessing, growing, processing, or transporting on one's own premises no more than 24 mature cannabis plants and possession of the cannabis produced by the plants on the premises where the plants were grown; (3) possessing outside one's premises no more than 224 grams of cannabis; and (4) assisting another person who is 21 years of age or older in any of the acts described in items (1) through (3). Provides that an excise tax is imposed at the rate of 10% of the sale price of the sale or transfer of cannabis from a cannabis cultivation facility to a retail cannabis store or cannabis product manufacturing facility. Provides that at least 51% of the licenses issued by the Department of Agriculture for cannabis cultivation facilities and at least 51% of the licenses issued by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation for retail cannabis stores shall be in communities disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs. Referred to Rules Committee

     

    SB 7(Sen. Steans) Creates the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act and contains only a short title provision. Referred to Senate Assignments

     

    Unemployment Insurance:

     

    HB 220(Rep. Flowers) creates the Wage Insurance Act to establish a wage insurance program to be administered by the Department of Employment Security. Provides that an individual is eligible for benefits if the individual is a claimant under the Unemployment Insurance Act at the time the individual obtains reemployment and is not employed by the employer from which the individual was last separated. Provides for benefits in an amount sufficient to pay the individual the difference between the wage the individual received at the time of separation from the employer by which the individual was employed immediately before becoming a claimant under the Unemployment Insurance Act and the wages received from reemployment. Imposes a 0.4% tax on payroll beginning January 1, 2020. Provides that claims may be made beginning July 1, 2020. Provides for recovery of erroneous payments, hearings, penalties, unpaid tax, rules, and other matters. Creates the Wage Insurance Fund, provides for the continuing appropriation from the Fund of amounts necessary for the purposes authorized by the Act, and amends the State Finance Act to include the Wage Insurance Fund as a special fund in the State treasury. Makes a corresponding change in the Freedom of Information Act. Assigned to House Labor & Commerce Committee

     

     

    Workers' Compensation:

     

    HB 269(Rep. Hoffman) amends the Workers' Compensation Act allowing a single commissioner to approve of enforcement actions against an employer who failed to provide insurance coverage as required under the Act, replacing the current requirement of a panel of 3 commissioners. Permits the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission to, if an employer's business is declared to be extra hazardous, issue a work-stop order while awaiting a ruling from the Commission or while awaiting proof of insurance by the employer. Provides that investigative actions must be acted upon within 90 days of the issuance of a complaint. Raises the maximum allowable penalty for noncompliance with certain insurance requirements from $2,000 to $10,000. Doubles the maximum allowable penalties, to $1,000 per day, with a minimum penalty of $20,000, for employers found to be in noncompliance more than once. Provides that an employer with 2 or more violations may no longer self-insure or purchase an insurance policy from a private broker for one year or until all penalties are paid, during which time the employer must purchase insurance from the Assigned Risk Pool through the National Council on Compensation Insurance. Assigned to House Labor & Commerce Committee

     

    SB 1219(Sen. Anderson) amends the Workers' Compensation Act. Provides that in the case of an employee who is a volunteer, paid-on-call, or part-time firefighter, emergency medical technician, or paramedic, compensation for temporary total incapacity shall commence on the day after the accident. Effective immediately. Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee

     

    SB 1422 (Sen. Murphy) amends the Workers' Compensation Act to provide that an accidental injury that results from repetitive or cumulative trauma and occurs within 6 months after the employee begins employment shall not be considered by a workers' compensation insurer in setting rates. Provides for contribution by prior employers with respect to awards for repetitive or cumulative injuries. Committee on Assignments.

     

    SB 1424 (Sen. Murphy) amends the Workers' Compensation Act authorizing the recording of an employee's medical examination with the consent of the employee and the physician. Provides for the use of the recording as evidence. Committee on Assignments

     

    Hiring Practices:

     

    HB 2379(Rep. Slaughter) creates the Limitations on Actions for Negligent Hiring Act prohibits an action against a party solely for hiring an employee or independent contractor who has been convicted of a nonviolent, non-sexual offense. Rules Committee awaiting assignment to a standing committee.

     

    HB 2504 (Rep. West) amends the Personnel Record Review Act requires an employer to delete disciplinary reports, letters of reprimand, or other records of disciplinary action that are more than 10 (rather than 4) years old. Rules Committee awaiting assignment to a standing committee.

     

    HB 2557 (Rep. Andrade) creates the Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act requiring an employer that asks applicants to record video interviews and uses an artificial intelligence analysis of applicant-submitted videos shall: notify each applicant in writing before the interview that artificial intelligence may be used to analyze the applicant's facial expressions and consider the applicant's fitness for the position; provide each applicant with an information sheet before the interview explaining how the artificial intelligence works and what characteristics it uses to evaluate applicants; and obtain written consent from the applicant to be evaluated by the artificial intelligence program. An employer may not use artificial intelligence to evaluate applicants who have not consented to the use of artificial intelligence analysis. Prohibits an employer from sharing applicant videos, except with persons whose expertise is necessary in order to evaluate an applicant's fitness for a position. Rules Committee awaiting assignment to a standing committee.

     

    HB 2565 (Rep. Stava-Murray) expands the Illinois Freedom to Work Act to all employees rather than only low-wage employees which will have the effect of prohibiting all covenants not to compete. Rules Committee awaiting assignment to a standing committee.

     

    Governor Pritzker Releases Transition Recommendations

     

    The eleven Transition Reports involved 400 Illinoisans from all over the state, representing both political parties, provided a diverse set of views about how to solve the myriad of challenges facing our state. As part of the new administration's commitment to ensuring that every person has equitable access to opportunity and well-being, the transition committees also viewed their work through a racial and economic equity lens across state agencies.

     

    Individuals who served on the transition committees represented their own views, and not the views of their organizations. The administration will consider these ideas and recommendations from the state's diverse stakeholders as we move forward.

     

    Illinois' Emerging Leaders Committee (reportcommittee members)