Wednesday, June 19, 2019

HR Legislative Update Covering: Lactation Room, Nursing Mothers, Severance & EMS Rest Exclusion

Several new laws have taken effect in the last year that affect Public Employers primarily.  Please review this legislative update carefully and contact me for any further information you may need to ensure compliance.

P.A. 100-0947 (January 1, 2019) – This Act amends the Counties Code to require that on or before June 1, 2019, every facility that houses a circuit court room shall include at least one lactation room or area for members of the public to express breast milk in private that is located outside the confines of a restroom and includes, at minimum, a chair, table, electrical outlet, and a sink with running water where possible.  This room may be the same space provided to employees. The legislation further requires the Supreme Court to create minimum standards for posting and training of courthouse staff. Construction or renovation of a court facility after June 1, 2019 shall include at least one lactation room or area that is located outside the confines of a restroom and includes, at a minimum, a chair, a table, an electrical outlet and a sink with running water.

The Supreme Court, effective March 11, 2019, has issued minimum standards for the following areas:

Lactation Room/Area: The room shall be a private space and may be the same space used by all employees for this same purpose. The room or area must be completely private so that no one can inside the space, and it cannot be inside a restroom. It must be equipped with a chair, a table and an electrical outlet. This rooms should accommodate a person with a disability.

Posting Notice to the Public: The lactation room posting shall be located at the main entrance and/or building director and any other public entrance or public elevator lobby. The notice should also be posted in larger assembly areas. Signage should be posted directly outside the designated lactation room/area. At these locations, every person entering the courthouse and walking by the room/area will be able to see that a lactation space is available. Signage posted outside of the lactation room/area shall contain the universal symbol of lactation room accessibility in writing and in Braille.

Training: Suggestions for training include a memo to each county department head with a request to advise their employees about the new law and on the location/access to a lactation room/area and who to contact for more information.; education to new employees about the law and location and access to lactation room/area as part of a new employee orientation packet; and incorporating training into departmental meetings involving courthouse staff.

P.A. 100-1003 (July 1, 2018) – This amendment to the Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act states that an employer shall provide a reasonable break time to an employee who needs to express breast milk for her nursing infant child each time the employee has the need, for one year after the child’s birth.  This break time may run concurrently with regularly provided break times. In addition, an employee may not reduce the employee’s compensation for time used to express milk. An employer shall provide reasonable break time as needed unless it would create an undue hardship as defined by item (J) of Section 2-102 of the Illinois Human Rights Act.

P.A. 100-0895 (January 1, 2019) – This legislation created the Government Severance Pay Act to provide that a unit of government that enters into a contract or employment agreement, or renewal or renegotiation of an existing contract or employment agreement that contains a provision for severance pay with an officer, agent, employee or contract include the following provisions: (1) severance pay may not exceed an amount greater than 20 weeks of compensation and (2) a prohibition of severance pay when the officer, agent, employee or contractor has been fired for misconduct, as defined within the Act, by the unit of government.

P.A. 100-1010 (August 23, 2018) – This legislation amended the Local Records Act to provide that when a unit of local government, school district, community college district, or other local taxing body enters a severance agreement with an employee or contractor because the employee or contractor was found to have engaged in sexual harassment or sexual discrimination, the public body shall publish specified information on its website within 72 hours of the approval of the agreement.

P.A. 100-1067 (August 24, 2019) – This legislation amends the One Day Rest in Seven Act to exclude individuals licensed under the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems Act, who are required to be on call, from the provision of this Act regarding meal periods. 

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