Illinois Leave Laws & Holidays

Paid Time Off (PTO), Vacation Time, Sick Leave, Maternity Leave, Bereavement Leave, Jury Duty Leave, Military Leave, and Voting Leave

Paid Time Off (PTO) in Illinois

Leave Quota 

Illinois law requires zero vacation days. Employers aren’t required to provide vacation leave.  

Illinois doesn’t have a statute for vacation time, so employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid vacation. If an employer chooses to provide vacation, however, such benefits must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. 

Many employers decide to provide vacation benefits because it’s one of the most desired perks for employees. 

Employers must provide vacation leave only if they have an established policy. 

Accrual 

Accruals are not obligatory in Illinois but are widely used by companies. 

Employers are free to design their system for vacation accrual, for example, based on a biweekly, semimonthly, or monthly period (usually based on pay period). It is essential to be clear when drafting accrual policies. The employer may establish a reasonable period during which no vacation is earned for new employees. 

Roll Over 

The Use-It-or-Lose-It policy is permitted by state law, so an employer isn’t obligated to let employees carry over unused leave into the next year.   

Employers in Illinois are free to adopt a “Use-It-or-Lose-It” vacation policy. A Use-It-or-Lose-It vacation policy means that an employer doesn’t have to pay employees for unused vacation leave at the end of the year. As a result, an employee loses all remaining vacation days, unpaid. However, employees must have an appropriate opportunity to take a vacation and must have notice of the policy. 

An employer could benefit from a Use-It-or-Lose-It policy because some employees use very little of their PTO. A long-term employee may earn hundreds of hours of PTO, which could become an expensive liability upon separation if it needs to be paid out. Employers also want to motivate employees to use their PTO because they understand that when an employee doesn’t take time off from work, their well-being, health, and work suffer. 

Statutory Provisions Addressing Vacation Pay 

“The monetary equivalent of earned vacation” is a part of “final compensation.” 

Payment of Accrued, Unused Vacation on Termination 

Upon separation from employment, an employer is required to pay an employee for all accrued vacation time. 

An employer can’t maintain a policy or employment contract that requires an employee to forfeit accrued vacation upon separation from employment for any reason. This rule will be disregarded only if the employer is a party to a CBA (collective bargaining agreement) with a union that specifies otherwise. 

Payout 

An employer pays for accrued, unused vacation on termination. 

Sick Leave in Illinois

Federal law allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid sick leave. Additional state laws, especially for Chicago and Cook County.

Federal Laws – Leave Quota 

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles qualified employees to take up to 12 weeks off for personal medical reasons, to care for a close family member suffering from a severe illness, or for maternity/paternity leave.   

Employees qualify for FMLA benefits if they: 

  • have been working for their employer for at least 12 months (at least 25 hours per week) or 1,250 hours in the previous year  
  • work in a location where at least 50 people are employed by the company (in a 75-mile radius) 

It’s up to each employer to propose additional sick leave benefits that are more generous than the minimum federal requirements. 

Illinois State Laws 

Illinois has its sick leave laws, Chicago and Cook County have special laws. 

According to the Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act, employers who offer their staff personal sick leave benefits must permit employees to use that time off for absences related to illness, injury, or medical appointments of the employee’s child, grandchild, spouse, sibling, parent, stepparent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, or grandparent. Leave must be given on the same terms under which employees can use sick leave benefits for their own illness or injury. The act went into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. The act applies to all Illinois employers who offer personal sick leave benefits to their employees. The act doesn’t require employers to implement sick leave policies if they do not already have them in place. 

However, under the Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, which went into effect on July 1, 2017, many Chicago employers are required to provide paid sick leave to eligible employees. 

Illinois also has an exception for Cook County. The law is similar to Chicago’s ordinance. 

Paid Sick Leave in Chicago and Cook County

Every employer in the city of Chicago and Cook County is required by the paid sick leave ordinance to offer paid time off to employees who need it for medical reasons. 

To be qualified for paid sick leave, employees must: 

  • work for their employer for 6 months
  • work at least 2 hours within the city or the county in any 2-week period
  • work at least 80 hours within any 120-day period. 

This includes domestic employees, day laborers, home health care workers, and tipped workers. 

An employee earns 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. The annual accrual cap is 40 hours, unless the employer establishes a higher limit. 

At the end of a 12-month accrual period, employees can carry over a maximum of 20 hours of paid sick leave (up to half of unused leave), unless the employer establishes a higher limit. 

If subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employees may carry over an additional 40 hours of unused paid sick leave to use just for FMLA leave. 

Payout 

An employer must pay paid sick leave no later than the next regular payroll period following the employee’s use of the paid sick leave. 

An employer is not required to pay out accrued, unused paid sick leave upon termination or separation of employment. 

Maternity, Paternity, FMLA in Illinois

Federal law 

12 weeks of unpaid maternity/paternity leave is provided by FMLA. 

Pregnancy is a specific qualifying criterion for protected unpaid leave in the United States, as defined by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Employees who are pregnant are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the FMLA. This also applies to the adoption of the child. Paternity leave is the same length. Unless otherwise specified by an employer, this leave must be continuous. 

For more information about eligibility for FMLA benefits, look above under the section Sick Leave in Illinois: Federal Laws – Leave Quota. 

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is yet another federal law that protects pregnant women. According to the PDA, discrimination against pregnant people is prohibited in all areas of employment: hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, fringe benefits, training, leave, and health insurance. 

Additional State Laws in Illinois 

Employer policies that discriminate against employees based on their sex are prohibited by the Illinois Human Rights Act. Discrimination based on gender includes maternity and pregnancy. For all employment-related purposes, including receiving benefits under fringe benefit programs, women should be treated equally. The Act applies to private employers with fifteen or more employees. 

Payout 

Maternity and paternity leave in Illinois are unpaid. 

Bereavement Leave in Illinois (Funeral Leave)

The state of Illinois has additional laws regarding bereavement leave, the Child Bereavement Leave Act (under the Family and Medical Leave Act). The Family Bereavement Leave Act is coming in 2023. 

Employers with more than 50 employees are required to provide up to two weeks (10 working days) of unpaid bereavement leave to employees who have suffered the loss of a child. Employees who are qualified for leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and who have not used all of their FMLA leave may take up to two weeks (10 workdays) of unpaid bereavement leave. Leave can be used to attend a child’s funeral, make arrangements necessitated by the child’s death, or deal with their grief. 

Leave must be used within 2 months after the death of the child has been notified. 

An employee is required to provide notice, 48 hours before the leave begins and may be required to provide an employer with appropriate documentation, such as a death certificate or published obituary. 

LATEST UPDATE: Illinois recently passed amendments to the state’s Child Bereavement Leave Act that expand the events for bereavement leave. The Family Bereavement Leave Act will take effect on January 1, 2023, replacing the current bereavement leave statute.  

The Family Bereavement Leave Act will require employers to provide employees with up to two weeks (10 workdays) of unpaid bereavement leave. In addition to unpaid leave for bereavement related to the loss of a child, the amended law will also require unpaid leave for absences due to miscarriage or stillbirth, failed adoption or surrogacy agreements, and other fertility-related reasons. 

Payout 

Bereavement leave in Illinois is unpaid. 

Jury Duty Leave in Illinois

Employers must provide employees with unpaid leave to serve on a jury. 

The employer is required to provide an employee with unpaid, job-protected leave to respond to a jury summons or to serve on a jury. 

While an employee is completing jury duty during the day, the employer may not make the employee work a night shift. 

Employees are required to provide notice within 10 days after they receive a call.  

Employers may not punish or penalize an employee who is a witness to a crime and takes time off from work to testify in a criminal proceeding pursuant to a subpoena. 

Payout 

Employers in Illinois are not required to pay employees for jury duty leave. 

Military Leave in Illinois

Federal Law 

All employers in the United States are governed by the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). USERRA protects members of the Army and Air National Guard who are called away from civilian jobs for federal service. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees who serve in the military. An employer may fire an employee only for a good reason for up to one year after returning from service. 

Illinois State Law 

In addition to USERRA, Illinois has the following laws that offer employment protection for military service members: 

Illinois Service Member Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (ISERRA) 

Effective Jan. 1, 2019, ISERRA replaced the prior state laws to consolidate and explain the employment rights and protections for military members. ISERRA grants service members the right to take a military leave of absence while also protecting them from retaliation.  

ISERRA provides military leave, job protection, reemployment rights, protection from retaliation, and protection from discrimination for members engaged in military service. 

The federal USERRA’s reemployment rights are in effect. 

ISERRA has a broader definition of “military service” than that provided under USERRA. It applies to the Armed Forces of the United States or National Guard, but also “state active duty” (i.e., the “full-time state-funded military duty under the command and control of the Governor”), or service for any “federally recognized auxiliary of the United States Armed Forces when performing official duties in support of military or civilian authorities as a result of an emergency.” 

The Illinois Family Military Leave Act  

This act provides job-protected unpaid family military leave to an employee who is the spouse, parent, child, or grandparent of a person called to military service with the United States or the State of Illinois for a period of more than 30 days. 

Employers with 15–50 employees are required to provide up to 15 days of leave.  

Employers with more than 50 employees are required to provide up to 30 days of leave. 

To be eligible, an employee must have been employed by the same employer for at least 12 months, and must have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12-month period before the leave. 

Employees must exhaust all other types of accrued leave, except sick or disability leave, before taking family military leave. Employees are required to give advance notice. Employers might ask for certification to confirm eligibility for leave. 

Civil Air Patrol Leave 

Employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide eligible employees participating in a civil air patrol mission with job-protected unpaid leave. 

Employers with 15–50 employees are required to provide up to 15 days of leave.  

Employers with more than 50 employees are required to provide up to 30 days of leave. 

Payout 

Military leave is unpaid. 

Voting Leave in Illinois

Employees may be granted up to two hours of paid time off to vote. 

In Illinois, employees entitled to vote must be provided with up to two hours of paid leave to vote in a general, special election, or primary between the opening and the closing of polls. (In Illinois, polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.) Exception: If an employee has two consecutive hours of non-working time while the polls are open, an employer is not required to provide voting leave. 

An employer has the right to specify the time allowed for leave. An employee must provide notice at least one day before Election Day. 

Payout 

An employer pays regular wages for time taken for voting leave. Under the state statute, an employer may not financially penalize or discharge an employee for being absent to cast a ballot. 

Illinois State Holidays for 2022

Illinois law doesn’t guarantee employees either paid or unpaid leave. 

Employers in the private sector don’t have to provide either paid or unpaid leave for national holidays. An employer in Illinois can demand employees work on holidays. A private employer isn’t required to pay an employee premium pay for working on national holidays, typically 150% of the regular rate, unless the time worked privileges the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws. But an employer may decide to offer either paid or unpaid holiday leave. In that case, it must follow its established policy or employment contract. 

 

Complete list of official holidays recognized and celebrated by the state of Illinois in 2022:

 

DateHoliday
Saturday, January 1New Year’s Day (Observed Friday, December 31, 2021) *
Monday, January 17Martin Luther King, Jr. (3rd Monday in January)
Monday, February 12Lincoln’s Birthday (Observed Friday, February 11) *
Monday, February 21Presidents’ Day (3rd Monday in February)
Monday, May 30Memorial Day (Last Monday in May)
Monday, June 19Juneteenth (Observed Monday, June 20) *
Monday, July 4Independence Day
Monday, September 5Labor Day (1st Monday in September)
Monday, October 10Columbus Day (2nd Monday in October)
Friday, November 8General Election Day
Friday, November 11Veterans’ Day
Thursday, November 24Thanksgiving
Friday, November 25Thanksgiving Friday
Sunday, December 25Christmas Day (Observed Monday, December 26) *

* Holidays that fall on Sunday are observed on Monday; holidays that fall on Saturday are observed on Friday.

Sources

  1. The Illinois Labor Law Guide, https://joinhomebase.com/state-labor-laws/illinois/
  2. Illinois Payroll and Benefits Guide, https://www.papayaglobal.com/countrypedia/country/united-states-illinois/
  3. Illinois Leave Laws, https://www.employmentlawhandbook.com/employment-and-labor-laws/states/illinois/leave-laws/
  4. Helpside – Employee Leave Laws by State, https://www.helpside.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Employee-Leave-Laws-by-State-Final.pdf

 

Updated: August 3, 2022 

 

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    All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about this region's leave laws. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, and may not be current. Please contact your local legal counsel to learn more about the leave laws in your country.