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On January 13, the Governor of Illinois signed an amendment to the Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act (IL ESLA), a “kin care” type law that allows employees to use personal sick leave benefits to care for certain family members.   The amendment goes into effect immediately. The key changes to the law are as follows:

  • Changes the definition of “personal sick leave benefits” to clarify that it means “paid or unpaid time…provided through an employment benefit plan or paid time off policy.” It clarifies that an “employment benefit plan or paid time off policy” does not include long term disability, short term disability, an insurance policy, or other comparable benefit plan or policy.
  • Adds stepchild and domestic partner to the covered relationships for which time may be taken.
  • Permits an employer to request written verification of the employee’s absence if the employer’s employment benefit plan or paid time off policy contains the same requirement.
  • Currently the law allows an employee to use for a family member the amount of personal sick leave benefits that would have normally accrued during 6 months at the employee’s then current rate of entitlement. The law clarifies that for employers who base personal sick leave benefits on an employee’s year of service and not an annual or monthly accrual, the employer may limit the amount of sick leave to be used for a family member to half of the employee’s maximum annual grant.
  • Adds a provision stating that the law does not interfere with collective bargaining agreements or a party’s power to collectively bargain such an agreement.
  • The law authorizes the Illinois Department of Labor to adopt rules to implement the law.

Independent of this change, the Illinois Department of Labor has published an FAQ and Complaint form for the law as well.

What Employers Must Do Now
Illinois employers are responsible for compliance with the changes to the law upon its effective date, January 13, 2017.  Employers should:

  • Review and, if necessary, update any paid personal sick leave benefit policies to comply with the changes;
  • Train appropriate personnel (Human Resources, benefits, etc.) on how the changes affect administration; and
  • Train supervisors and managers on the changes to the law so they can help spot covered absences and enlist HR assistance.

What Reed Group is Doing
ReedGroup is updating our clients’ company leaves if they are impacted. ReedGroup is also updating the chapter for the IL ESLA in Leave Advisor™.

Lori Welty

Lori Welty

Lori Welty, Esq. is a Compliance Attorney at Reed Group. Ms. Welty tracks and analyzes pending legislation and bills relating to leave of absence law in local municipalities, the 50 states, and the United States Congress. She provides expertise in all areas of state and federal leave law, including Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and their state law equivalents as well as disability and family leave benefits. Ms. Welty is an ongoing author of ReedGroup’s LeaveAdvisor™ online reference tool. She was the lead researcher and co-authored ReedGroup’s white papers regarding accommodations for pregnant employees, and paid sick leave laws