Monday, February 25, 2019

What's New in HR for Illinois Employers?


By Donna Rogers Skowronski, M.Ed., SPHR, SHRM-SCP via www.RogersHR.com

Now – already required in your workplaces

New IL Poster required due to ISSERRA change as of 1/1/19.

IL Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act requires employers to allow breaks as needed to express breast milk and they cannot reduce an employee pay for taking breaks for doing so up to one year after the child is born. Keep in mind the previous requirement already in place that requires employers to provide a private location and a lockable refrigerator to store the milk.

IL Department of Human Rights - IHRA increased the time frame for employees to act against employers making a claim through their department from 180 to 300 days which now mirrors the time frame they had previously had to file a claim with the EEOC.  Employees can also opt out of an IDHR investigation and go directly to the state court with their complaint against the employer. Employers must post a new notice and include the same content in their employee handbooks.  You can find the notice here

The only employees who are now exempt from the IL One Day Rest in Seven Act is Emergency Medical Services Employees.  Other than that, every other employee must get one day off per week.

The Il Wage Payment and Collection Act changed to require employers to reimburse employees for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred within the scope of their employment.  Employees must be allowed at least 30 days to submit reimbursement requests.  Basically, you cannot expect employees to pay for expenses they incur to get the job done.  You can have a policy covering unauthorized expenses and don’t have to pay for the employees’ own negligence such as loss or theft, etc.

Finally, there are additional protections for both military members as well as equal pay requirements for African-American employees like the previous gender pay expectations. The IL Service Employment Member & Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (ISERRA) also requires an updated notice be posted for employees and can be found here.

Future – watch and be prepared

The IL Minimum Wage is Increasing but that’s not the only problem it creates! The governor signed the Lifting Up Illinois Working Families Act on 2/20/19 raising minimum wage to 15 over the next six years.  This will not only be an issue for employers at the bottom end of their pay scale, it will cause problems all the way through as compression problems will occur with such a surgency so fast.  Employers should look at all employees pay in order to minimize risk of losing quality employees to higher paying jobs who is paying attention to the bigger picture impact of this change.  Specifically, the minimum wage will change from 8.25 to 9.25 on 1/1/2020 (less than 10 months from now) then $10 an hour on 7/1/2020.  Then it will go up incrementally by $1 each year starting 1/1/21 until it reaches $15 an hour on 1/1/25.

New Overtime Rule is Closer to Enactment so get ready, if you’re not already! The new rule is not expected to be as drastic as the original rule in 2016.  However, it will still be significant enough to cause pay compression issues among those who are exempt from receiving overtime pay based on job duties and the new minimum salary level expected to be in the 30k range.  If you didn’t do a wage study in 2016, I would recommend you do one now in anticipation for a potential January 2020 implementation date. When I visited several counties in 2014 & 2015 to do HR Assessments, I found some employees were misclassified as exempt when they should have been non-exempt employees being paid for overtime.  While the duties tests are not changing this is a good time to review how your positions are classified in addition to pay to avoid potential back wage payouts.  Watch for more about this in Department of Labor news sometime in March or April.

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