The Paid Leave for Workers Act (PLFAW) will become effective January 1, 2024, and will apply to all Illinois employers, with very limited exceptions. The law does not apply to school and park district employers, temporary student-employees, and employees defined in the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act.

PLFAW allows employees to take sick leave for any reason. An employer may require up to a week’s notice for foreseeable leave. Unforeseeable leave requires only that the employee provide notice as soon as possible.

Illinois will become the third state to mandate paid leave without limiting the use of leave to certain state-approved reasons.

PLFAW requires all covered employers to provide a minimum of 40 hours of paid leave per 12-month period. Specifically, under PLFAW, employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked up to a minimum of 40 hours annually. In the alternative, employers may front load the full amount of leave on the first day of employment or at the beginning of the designated 12-month period.

Employers will be allowed to set a reasonable minimum increment of use for paid leave, but it cannot be more than two hours.

Compliance with PLFAW will be simple for employers that already maintain a Paid Time Off (PTO) policy that allows 40 hours of PTO per year. The law specifies that an employer need not modify its existing policy if it allows the minimum amount of leave required under the act and the employee is able to take leave for any reason.

PLFAW does not preempt or contradict the Chicago Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Ordinance or the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance. After January 1, 2024, an employer need provide only benefits in compliance with a local ordinance that are greater than or equal to the provisions of the Act. In essence, the Act creates a minimum acceptable threshold of paid leave benefits, which a local ordinance or employer’s existing policy can exceed.

Have questions about your Paid Time Off policy or compliance with PLFAW? Don’t worry – we are here to help.

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