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Amended VESSA Provides Illinois Employees Time Off for Additional Reasons

16 Aug

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Update Applicable to:

All employers with employees performing work in Illinois, with differing leave entitlements dependent on employee count.

What happened?

On July 28, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed bill HB 2493, which took effect immediately.

What are the details?

Introduction

Illinois has recently enacted amendments to the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA) to enhance leave provisions for employees grieving the loss of a family member due to a crime of violence. VESSA applies to all employers in the state and obligates them to offer unpaid leave to employees who are victims of domestic, sexual, or gender violence, as well as those whose family or household members are victims.

New Reasons for Leave

These changes introduce three additional reasons for which employees may take leave under VESSA. Alongside existing reasons such as seeking medical attention, counseling, victim services, legal assistance, and safety planning, employees can now take leave to attend the funeral or alternative wake of a family or household member killed in a crime of violence, make necessary arrangements due to the death of such a family member, or grieve the death of a family or household member killed in a crime of violence.

Documentation for Leave Requests

To request leave related to a crime of violence involving death, employees must provide appropriate documentation. Accepted forms of documentation include a death certificate, published obituary, or written verification from relevant institutions confirming the circumstances of the death.

Period of Leave Entitlement

The amount of leave an employee can take under VESSA depends on the size of their employer. Employees working for employers with 1 to 14 employees can take 4 workweeks of leave within a 12-month period. Those employed by employers with 15 to 49 employees can take 8 workweeks, while employees of employers with 50 or more employees can take 12 workweeks.

Leave for Death Involving Crimes of Violence

For the newly added reasons for leave related to death involving crimes of violence, an employee can take up to two workweeks (10 workdays) of unpaid leave within 60 days after being notified of the victim’s death. However, this leave does not increase the total amount of leave the employee is entitled to under VESSA for other qualifying reasons during the same 12-month period.

Interaction with Illinois Family Bereavement Leave Act (FBLA)

It is essential to understand the relationship between VESSA and the Illinois Family Bereavement Leave Act (FBLA). If an employee is eligible for leave under FBLA, the amended VESSA does not provide additional bereavement leave. However, if an employee is not eligible for FBLA leave, any leave taken under the newly added VESSA reasons for death involving crimes of violence will be deducted from the total VESSA leave entitlement.

For more information, please see the links below:

Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act

House Bill HB 2493 (Amendments to VESSA)

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the above bill and familiarize themselves with the new requirements, make any necessary changes to internal processes, as well as updating policies or handbooks.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

Learn more about how Vensure's Illinois PEO services can help you navigate complex employment laws and keep your business compliant.


This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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