Vacation & Sick Pay Tidbits

Vacation and Sick Pay Tidbits For Your Illinois Practice or Organization

Whether you are setting up your business or revamping your employee handbook or human resources policies, there are some important details related to employee compensation and benefits that you need to keep in mind. The following are a few legal requirements that employers should consider.


Vacation Pay

Illinois state law does not require employers to offer vacation.  However, when an employer does have a vacation policy, it must pay out earned but unused vacation pay to departing employees - those who have been discharged or resigned.  When an employee is departing, an employer must pay the employee pro rata for the amount of time that the employee worked - for example, if the employee only worked for the employer for 2 months, the employer must still pay the departing  employee for 2 days of vacation if the employer’s policy is that the employee earns 1 day of vacation for every month worked.


To save employers from having to pay out a significant amount of money to departing employees who have refused to take vacation over the course of their tenure with the organization, Illinois law allows employers to enforce a “use-or-lose” policy to require that employees use their vacation by a certain date or lose it.


Sick Leave in Chicago and Cook County

Effective July 1, 2017, Chicago and Cook County, Illinois have instituted sick leave ordinances.  Both ordinances require employers to offer paid sick leave to employees who work at least 80 hours within any 120-day period and perform at least 2 hours of work in Cook County or in the City of Chicago (depending on the applicable ordinance).  Under both ordinances, employees earn up to 4 hours of paid sick leave per 12 month period, and employees can earn 1 hour of sick leave for every 40 hours they work.  Employees may use sick leave time for their own or for a family member’s illness, injury, medical treatment, and preventive care.  Employers may require up to 7 days notice that an employee needs to take leave (for example, for medical appointments), and employers may require an employee to provide documentation to support an absence of more than 3 consecutive workdays.  Both ordinances require that employers post notices to inform employees of their sick leave rights.


Illinois Sick Leave Law

The Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act went into effect on January 1, 2017.  The new law does not not actually require that employers provide paid sick leave to their employees.  Instead, the new Illinois law requires that employers that offer sick leave benefits allow their employees to use those benefits to care for an employee’s child, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent.


Proceed With Caution 

The above-detailed rules are the tip of the “iceberg” of federal and state wage and hour requirements for employers.  Employers should review their paid-time-off policies and employee handbooks to make sure they are complying with federal and state law.  Additionally, the way employers handle vacation and sick pay is often related to whether employees are classified as hourly or salaried under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Thus, employers should regularly review their employees’ duties and responsibilities to make sure they are paying employees correctly in accordance with the law.


For more information please contact Karuna Brunk at Malecki & Brooks Law Group LLC at +1.630.948.4907 to make sure that your organization or practice is acting in accordance with wage and hour laws.


Articles distributed by Malecki & Brooks Law Group, LLC are advertisements and summaries for general information and discussion purposes only.  They are not full analyses of the matters presented, legal, or otherwise, and may not be relied upon as legal advice.




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