Illinois joins the "paid leave for any reason" club


Maine and Nevada have similar laws already

On March 13, Illinois Governor Pritzker signed the Paid Leave for All Workers (PLAW) Act (SB 208) into law, giving employees in the state 40 hours of paid leave per year for any reason.

This is the third state in the U.S. with such a law. Maine and Nevada have similar leave laws in place.

Effective date

The Illinois law becomes effective January 1, 2024, and employees may begin accruing leave on that date or upon hire, whichever is later. Employees may begin taking the leave on March 31, 2024, or 90 days after hire, whichever is later.


The law applies to all employees 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. Other employees, such as railway workers, are also exempt.

Accrual and usage

Employees accrue the paid leave at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked. Employers may, however, frontload the 40 hours of leave. Those that do 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.

Otherwise, unused leave carries over to the next 12-month period, but employers may cap the leave taken in any 12-month period to 40 hours. The 12-month period may be any consecutive 12-month period designated by the employer in writing at the time of hire.

Employees who are exempt from the overtime requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are deemed to work 40 hours per workweek for paid leave accrual, unless their regular workweek is less than 40 hours, in which case paid leave accrues based on that regular workweek.

Other employer requirements

PLAW leave may run concurrent with paid time off or vacation if company policy allows. If so, employers must pay out any unused PLAW leave upon separation.

Employers must maintain group health care coverage during the leave, and make and keep records documenting hours worked, paid leave accrued and taken, and remaining paid leave balance for each employee for at least three years.

Employers may not:

  • Require employees to provide a reason for or documentation in support of the leave.
  • Require an employee to find a replacement for the leave.

Employees get to decide how much paid leave they need to use; however, employers may set a reasonable minimum increment not to exceed two hours per day.

Employee rights and responsibilities

Employees get to choose whether to use PLAW leave before using any other leave provided by the employer or state law.

If the leave is foreseeable, employers may require employees to give seven calendar days' notice before the date the leave is to begin. Otherwise, employees are to provide notice as soon as practicable.

Employees are paid their full wage while on leave and tipped workers will be paid the minimum wage in their respective locale.


Because the City of Chicago and Cook County already have a paid sick leave ordinance in place, employees and employers in these areas will continue to be subject to those ordinances.

Key to Remember: Illinois becomes the third state in the U.S. to offer paid leave for any reason.

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.