The Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act was signed by Governor Rauner on August 19, 2016, and will take effect on January 1, 2017.  Though misleadingly titled “Employee Sick Leave Act,” the Act does not require employers to provide sick leave benefits to their employees. Rather, the law requires employers who provide sick leave benefits to their employees to allow their employees to take such leave for absences due to the illness, injury, or medical appointment of the employee’s child, spouse, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent. The leave must be granted on the same terms under which the employee is able to use sick leave benefits for his or her own illness or injury.  The term “personal sick leave benefits” is defined in the Act to include time accrued and available for absences due to personal illness, injury, or medical appointments.

The Employee Sick Leave Act does not require employers to adopt or even to retain sick leave policies. While the new law allows Illinois employers to limit the amount of personal sick leave benefits available for the care of family members to “not less than the personal sick leave that would be accrued during 6 months” at the employee’s personal sick leave accrual rate, the law specifically provides that it does not expand the maximum period of leave to which an employee is entitled under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which generally applies to employers with at least 50 employees.

Illinois employers that have policies that otherwise provide for sick leave as required by the Act do not have to modify their policies to expressly provide sick leave for family care.  The Act also makes it unlawful for employers to discharge, threaten to discharge, demote, suspend, or discriminate against employees for using sick leave benefits, attempting to exercise their rights to use sick leave benefits, filing a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor, alleging a violation of the Act, cooperating in an investigation or prosecution of the Act, or opposing any policy, practice or act that is prohibited by the Act.

If you would like to discuss this or any employment related matter, please contact:

Mitchell S. Chaban at:

mchaban@lgattorneys.com or 312-368-0100.