Illinois Enacts Several New Employment Laws

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Senior Legal Editor

August 9, 2023

Employers in Illinois face several new requirements after Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed new laws that:

Child Extended Bereavement Leave Act

Effective January 1, 2024, SB 2034 significantly expands the Illinois family bereavement leave law.

Originally enacted in 2016 as the Child Bereavement Leave Act (CBLA) and then expanded and renamed as the Family Bereavement Leave Act (FBLA) earlier this year, the law will be renamed once more as the Child Extended Bereavement Leave Act (CEBLA).

Under the FBLA, parents currently are entitled to up to two weeks of unpaid bereavement leave after the loss of a child - as well as for other reasons such as a family member's funeral, absences due to a miscarriage and failed adoptions.

Under the expanded CEBLA, eligible employees who lose a child by suicide or homicide will be entitled to:

  • Up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if they work for a large employer with more than 250 full-time employees; and
  • Up to six weeks of unpaid leave if they work for a mid-sized employer with 50 to 250 employees.

Employees may take this leave in a single continuous period or intermittently in increments of no less than four hours. They must complete their leave within one year after having notified their employer of their loss.

Employers may require employees to provide advance notice of their intention to take leave and documentation such as a death certificate, an obituary or written verification from a funeral home or other institution.

Amendments to the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act

Effective January 1, 2024, HB 2493 amends the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA) to expand the list of qualifying reasons for which employees may take unpaid leave to include attending the funeral of; making arrangements for; and grieving the death of a family or household member who is killed in a violent crime.

For this new mourning leave, employees will be entitled to two workweeks (10 work days) of unpaid leave, which must be completed within 60 days after the date on which the employee receives notice of the victim's death.

If an employee is also entitled to take unpaid leave under the FBLA (which, as mentioned above, will be renamed the CEBLA on the same day the VESSA amendments take effect) then:

  • The mourning leave may not exceed or be in addition to leave under the FBLA; and
  • The mourning leave will be in addition to the four to 12 weeks of leave to which employees may be entitled for other qualifying reasons (such as seeking medical attention, legal assistance, obtaining counseling, etc.).

If an employee is not entitled to take unpaid leave under the FBLA then mourning leave is deducted from the total amount of leave time to which an employee is entitled for other qualifying reasons.

The amendments also add death certificates, published obituaries and certain other written verifications to the list of documents that will satisfy the certification requirements.

Employee Blood and Organ Donation Leave Act

Effective January 1, 2024, HB 3516 creates a new leave entitlement for organ donation.

It allows eligible employees of businesses with 51 or more employees to use up to 10 days of paid leave in any 12-month period to donate an organ.

The law defines an organ as "any biological tissue of the human body that may be donated by a living donor," including, but not limited to, a kidney, liver, lung, pancreas, intestine, bone and skin.

Like the CEBLA, HB 3516 also renames the law it is amending from the Employee Blood Donation Leave Act to the Employee Blood and Organ Donation Leave Act.

Freelance Worker Protection Act

Effective July 1, 2024, HB1122 creates a new law called the Freelance Worker Protection Act that will require companies that hire freelancers to provide services or products valued at $500 or more to:

  • Enter into written contracts;
  • Make timely payments (within 30 days); and
  • Refrain from retaliation.

It is modeled after similar laws in Los Angeles, Minneapolis and New York City.

Amendments to the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act

Effective July 1, 2023 (and retroactive to that date), HB 2862 amends the Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services Act to:

  • Require "equal pay for equal work," meaning that day and temporary workers who are assigned to a third-party client for more than 90 calendar days must be paid at least the same rate of pay and provided equivalent benefits as the lowest-paid comparable employee hired directly by the third-party client;
  • Establish new safety and training requirements;
  • Provide day and temporary workers the right to refuse an assignment to a worksite where there is a strike, lockout or other labor dispute; and
  • Allow "interested parties" to file lawsuits against temp agencies and their clients who they believe to have violated the Act.