The New Year will usher in several new Illinois employment laws. These laws cover a myriad of topics and will require revisions to employee handbooks and general employment policies.
Illinois Senate Bill 3120, effective January 1, 2023, expands the protections afforded under the Child Bereavement Leave Act (the “CBLA”), 820 ILCS 154/ et seq. Under the existing CBLA, Illinois employees are entitled to use a maximum of two weeks (10 work days) of unpaid bereavement leave for the following reasons: to attend the funeral or alternative to a funeral of a child; make arrangements necessitated by the death of a child; or grieve the death of a child. The CBLA defines “child” as employee’s son or daughter who is a biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis.
The amended CBLA, now titled the Family Bereavement Leave Act (“FBLA”), broadens the scope of the CBLA by expanding the availability of unpaid bereavement leave to cover additional family members and reasons for leave. The FBLA provides for bereavement leave for the death of a “covered family member,” which now includes an employee’s child, stepchild, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or step-parent.
The FBLA also provides that employees are entitled to this leave due to (i) a miscarriage; (ii) an unsuccessful round of intrauterine insemination or of an assisted reproductive technology procedure (such as Invitro Fertilization); (iii) a failed adoption match or an adoption that is not finalized because it is contested by another party; (iv) a failed surrogacy agreement; (v) a diagnosis that negatively impacts pregnancy or fertility; or (vi) a stillbirth. Importantly, while an employer may require the employee provide documentation supporting the leave request, the employer cannot require, as a condition of exercising rights under the Act, the employee identify to which category of event the leave pertains.
Also effective January 1, 2023, Illinois Senate Bill 3616 amends the Illinois Human Rights Act (the “IHRA”) and broadens the scope of the IHRA’s protections. The IHRA currently prohibits discrimination and retaliation based upon race and various other protected categories. The IHRA’s amendment expands the definition of “race” under the IHRA to include traits associated with race, including but not limited to hair texture and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists.
The New Year also marks employers’ new reporting obligations to the Illinois Department of Labor. The requirements, rooted in a March 2021 amendment to the Illinois Equal Pay Act of 2003 (the “Act”), require private businesses with 100 or more employees in Illinois, that are required to file an EEO-1 report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, to report certain employee payroll and diversity information to the IDOL, including new pay data reporting and certification requirements, among others.
Additionally, beginning on January 1, 2023, covered Illinois employers need to include in annual corporate reports filed with the Illinois Secretary of State gender, race and ethnicity employment data, similar to the information contained in Section D of the EEO-1 document. The Secretary of State will publish the data of each corporation’s employees on its official website within 90 days of receipt of a properly filed annual report.
Lastly, the New Year marks important changes to the One Day Rest In Seven Act (the “ODRISA”). The ODRISA originally provided that employers must permit employees who work for 7 ½ continuous hours or longer at least 20 minutes for a meal period beginning no later than five hours after the start of the work period.
The amendment delineates between the rest periods for those employees who work 7 ½ hours and for those who work for 7 ½ continuous hours or longer. Specifically, while the employer’s obligation to provide employees who work exactly 7 ½ hours at least 20 minutes for a meal period beginning no later than 5 hours after the start of the work period remains intact, employees who work in excess of 7 ½ continuous hours are entitled to an additional 20-minute meal period for every additional 4 ½ continuous hours worked.
The ODRISA amendment also imposes greater penalties upon non-complying employers. The original ODRISA simply provided that employers violating ODRISA would be fined for each offense in a sum of not less than $25 nor more than $100.
Beginning in January, non-compliant employers will be subject to a civil penalty of up to $500 per offense. To that end, each week an employee is not allowed 24 consecutive hours of rest constitutes a separate offense. Likewise, each day an employee is not provided a meal period constitutes a separate offense. These amendments underscore the importance the legislature places upon rest and meal periods and the potentially significant costs of non-compliance.
It is important for employers to implement these changes and revise employee handbooks in anticipation of the laws’ impending January 1, 2023 effective date. It is also important for employers to train management and leadership on these new requirements and ensure they understand the company’s obligations. Sheppard Mullin attorneys are available and ready to assist employers as they navigate the new laws and implement them in their workplaces.
 The CBLA applies to Illinois employers with 50 or more employees.
 The new requirement applies to all corporations doing business in Illinois that are required to file an EEO-1 report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.