The Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act (IL ESLA), House Bill 6162, was signed by the governor on August 19 and goes into effect January 1, 2017. We wrote about two other Illinois leave laws signed recently, the amendment to the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act and the new Child Bereavement Leave law. The IL ESLA is a “kin care” law that allows employees to use their accrued and available personal sick leave benefits to care for certain family members.
The IL ESLA covers all employers, and all employees are eligible. However, the law does not require employers to establish personal sick leave benefits, defined as “time accrued and available for an employee to be used as a result of absence from work due to personal illness, injury, or medical appointment, but does not include absences from work for which compensation is provided through an employer’s plan,” if they don’t already provide them. But employers who already offer personal sick leave benefits must allow an employee to use them for absences due to a family member’s illness, injury, or medical appointment. A family member includes a child, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parent, parent-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent.
An employer can limit the amount of personal sick leave benefits an employee is allowed to use for a family member to the amount of sick time the employee would normally accrue during 6 months (at the then-current rate of entitlement). This leave may be paid or unpaid, depending on an employer’s existing personal sick leave benefits. The law does not specify whether leave taken under the IL ESLA would run concurrently with the FMLA; however, if the absence taken is for a leave reason that qualifies under the FMLA, the leaves will run concurrently. An employer with an existing paid time off policy that provides benefits as required by the IL ESLA is not required to alter it.
What Employers Must Do Now
Illinois employers are responsible for compliance with this law upon its effective date, January 1, 2017. Employers should:
- Review and, if necessary, update any personal sick leave benefit policies to comply with the IL ESLA;
- Train appropriate personnel (Human Resources, Benefits, etc.) on how to manage the law; and
- Train supervisors and managers on the newlaw so they can help spot covered absences and enlist HR assistance.
What ReedGroup Is Doing
ReedGroup will add a new chapter for the IL ESLA in LeaveAdvisor.