Are you an Illinois employer that offers paid leave? Whew! January 1 law should be easy, breezy


Employers with existing, compliant paid leave policies don't need to change them

Good news for employers with employees in Illinois. According to the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL), if a company has an existing policy that provides the minimum amount of leave required by the Illinois Paid Leave For All Workers Act (PLAWA), which is 40 hours in a 12-month period, and employees can take that amount of leave for any reason, the employer does not need to modify the terms of their policy or provide more leave.

IDOL expects to further clarify how existing policies meet expectations of the law in rulemaking.

Background on PLAWA

Back in March 2023, Governor JB Pritzker signed SB208 into law, making Illinois the third state in the nation to mandate paid time off to be used for any reason. The law takes effect on January 1, 2024.

The law applies to every employee working for an employer in Illinois, including domestic workers, but excludes independent contractors. The law also exempts employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement in the construction industry and parcel delivery industry.

The City of Chicago and Cook County have an existing paid sick leave ordinance in place; employees and employers in those two geographic regions will be subject to those ordinances.

Employee leave

Employees accrue paid leave at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked. Employees begin accruing the leave on January 1, 2024, or upon hire, whichever is later. Employees may begin taking the leave on March 31, 2024, or 90 days following after hire, whichever is later.

Employers may, however, frontload the 40 hours of leave. Employers that frontload the leave are not required to carryover paid leave from 12-month period to 12-month period and may require employees to use all paid leave prior to the end of the benefit period or forfeit the unused paid leave.

Employees will be paid their full wage while on leave and tipped workers will be paid the minimum wage in their respective locale. Employers may not require an employee to find their replacement for the leave.

Key to Remember: The Illinois Department of Labor has clarified that if Illinois employers already provide leave at least as equal to the Paid Leave for All Workers Act, they need not provide more.

This article was written by Darlene M. Clabault, SHRM-CP, PHR, CLMS, of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. The content of these news items, in whole or in part, MAY NOT be copied into any other uses without consulting the originator of the content.


The J. J. Keller LEAVE MANAGER service is your business resource for tracking employee leave and ensuring compliance with the latest Federal and State FMLA and leave requirements.