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28 Apr

April 2021 Illinois HR Legal Updates

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Illinois Passes Additional Criminal History Regulations

Update Applicable to:
Employers hiring workers within the State of Illinois.

What happened?
Illinois Governor Pritzker signed a bill into law on March 23, 2021, prohibiting employers from taking adverse employment actions based on workers’ criminal records, unless certain exceptions apply. The law amends the Illinois Human Rights Act.

What are the details?
An employer may use a conviction record as the basis for an adverse employment action if it determines that a relationship between the offense and the job exists or if the offense poses a safety risk. The employer must perform an individualized assessment and consider several factors including the length of time since the conviction, the nature and severity of the crime, and the age of the person at the time of conviction. The law also requires Illinois employers to notify an affected individual if a criminal conviction is a reason for disqualification. It obligates employers to provide the applicant or employee with a copy of the criminal history report and give the person five days to respond.

An article providing an in-depth look at the new regulations can be found here.

The Public Act can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Illinois employers likely will need to update their hiring practices to accommodate these changes. 


Chicago Passes Vaccination Time Off Ordinance

Update Applicable to:
Employers operating within the City of Chicago.

What happened?
On April 21, 2021, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance, effective immediately, prohibiting adverse action against all Chicago workers—including independent contractors—who take time off from work to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

What are the details?
The ordinance also prohibits employers from requiring that a worker get a COVID-19 vaccine outside of work hours.

Vaccination time off does not necessarily need to be paid. Employers that do not require vaccination must provide unpaid vaccination time off and must permit (but not mandate) a worker to use accrued or otherwise available paid sick leave or paid time off to cover the absence. (Note that this may include any paid sick leave a worker may earn and have available under the Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance).

If, however, the employer requires vaccination, the worker must be provided up to four hours of paid vaccination time off per injection. Under these circumstances, paid vaccination time off must be compensated at the worker’s FLSA regular rate of pay, which is normally only used when calculating the overtime rate for non-exempt employees. In order to be eligible for the time off with pay, the vaccination appointment must occur during a scheduled work shift. Workers cannot be required to use paid time off or paid sick leave to cover the hours missed for the appointment.

An article providing additional details can be found here.

The ordinance may be downloaded for viewing by clicking here.

What do employers need to do?
Chicago employers should update their leave policies to reflect the new vaccination leave requirements.


Illinois Creates New Wage Data Requirements

Update Applicable to:
Any private employers with more than 100 employees in Illinois.

What happened?
On March 23, 2021, Illinois amended the state’s Equal Pay Act of 2003 to include additional reporting requirements targeted at identifying gender and racial pay disparities.

What are the details?
Eligible employers in Illinois must obtain an “equal pay registration certificate” from the Illinois Department of Labor. Employers must obtain this certificate within three years of the amendment’s effective date—i.e., by March 23, 2024—and then every two years thereafter.

To apply for this certificate, the employer must submit a $150 filing fee, the employer’s most recent EEO-1 report, and a report of all employees from the past calendar year “separated by gender and the race and ethnicity categories as reported in the business’s most recently filed Employer Information Report EEO-1, and report the total wages . . . paid to each employee during the past calendar year.”

The employer must also submit an “equal wage compliance statement,” signed by a corporate officer, legal counsel, or authorized agent, stating:

  • The employer is in compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Illinois Human Rights Act, the Illinois Equal Wage Act, and the Illinois Equal Pay Act of 2003;
  • Average compensation for female and minority employees “is not consistently below the average compensation, as determined by rule by the United States Department of Labor, for its male and non-minority employees within each of the major job categories” in the employer’s EEO-1 report, after taking into account “factors such as length of service, requirements of specific jobs, experience, skill, effort, responsibility, working conditions of the job, or other mitigating factors”;
  • Employees are not restricted to particular job classifications based on sex, nor are retention and promotion decisions made concerning sex;
  • The employer corrects any wage and benefit disparities as they are identified;
  • How often the employer evaluates wages and benefits to ensure compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Illinois Human Rights Act, the Illinois Equal Wage Act, and the Illinois Equal Pay Act of 2003; and
  • The method used by the employer in setting compensation and benefits: market pricing, prevailing wage or union contract requirements, performance pay, internal analysis, or an alternative approach that the employer must then describe.
  • After the application is submitted, the employer will receive the certificate, or an explanation for the rejection of the application, within 45 days.

An application may only be rejected for failing to submit the required information and compliance statement, but that does not mean the new amendment is toothless. The amendment gives the Director of Labor the authority to audit an employer’s compliance with the reporting requirements, including the accuracy of the information disclosed, and to revoke a certificate upon a finding that the employer has failed to make a good-faith effort to comply with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Illinois Human Rights Act, the Illinois Equal Wage Act, or the Illinois Equal Pay Act of 2003, or has multiple violations of those acts.

An article providing additional details can be found here.

The legislation can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Illinois employers should be aware of the need to update their payroll practices to stay in compliance with that and other applicable acts. Employers have up to three years to come into compliance and to create a process to accommodate the reporting requirements.