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What Are My Rights Under Illinois Employment Laws?

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What Are My Rights Under Illinois Employment Laws?

In Illinois, the law provides numerous protections to workers their employers must abide by or face serious fines, penalties, or injunctions. These laws cover many aspects of employment, including minimum wage, equal pay, child labor, rest and meal breaks, and leave for victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Minimum wage and overtime

The minimum wage in the state of Illinois is $8.25 per hour. This extends to all businesses with at least four or more employees, although there are certain exceptions to the law. The hourly wage for tipped employees like waiters must be at least 60 percent of the prevailing minimum wage and the worker’s total earnings must equal at least the current minimum wage.

Equal pay

Men and women must be paid equal wages for the same or substantially similar work. Men and women can only be paid different wages for the same position if the difference is due to seniority, merit, or factors other than gender.

Meal and rest periods

Workers must be given at least 24 hours of continuous rest in a seven-day period. However, employers may obtain permits from the Department of Labor to allow employees to voluntarily work seven consecutive days in a week. Furthermore, employees working more than 7.5 hours in a day must be given a 20-minute meal break after the fifth hour of work.

Child labor

Generally speaking, children under the age of 14 years may not work, but there are certain exceptions. Children under the age of 16 may work so long as the school district the child lives in issues a work permit, the job is not hazardous, work is limited to no more than three hours on a school day, work is performed between 7am and 7pm during the school year, and the minor is given a 30-minute meal break after the fifth hour of work.

Domestic or sexual violence leave

Victims of sexual abuse or their family members may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period to cope with the situation.

Illinois employment lawyers

Workers who believe their employer failed to comply with Illinois employment laws should strongly consider speaking to an experienced Illinois employment lawyer about their case to discuss legal action. Under the law, employees could be entitled to reinstatement, back wages, interest on unpaid income, and other relief. Contact our office for a consultation about your case. Call us today312.332.6733

Illinois General Assembly Poised To Override Governor’s Veto On State Businesses Performing Roofing

In August 2016, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed Illinois Senate Bill 2982, a piece of legislation that would exclude business owners from using their own employees to perform roofing work on their own business. Now, the Illinois General Assembly is poised to override the governor’s veto and prohibit such business activities, perhaps to the detriment of businesses trying to grow and create jobs in the state.

The bill would have amended the Illinois Roofing Industry Licensing Act to require employees performing repairs and waterproofing on an employer’s business to be licensed contractors. The amended regulation would not apply to emergency repairs and waterproofing on business or citizens performing the work on their own residences.

Chicago Employment Discrimination Attorney

Explaining his reasoning for vetoing Senate Bill 2982, Gov. Rauner said “Professional licenses are sometimes needed to protect public safety. But Illinois’s licensing scheme is outdated, often nonsensical, and out of step with practices in other states.” The veto was seen as a major victory for the rights of business owners across the state, allowing them to maintain necessary control over their place of business.

Gov. Rauner went on to call for the Illinois General Assembly to work with the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation on comprehensive licensing reform. Additionally, the governor highlighted a need to broadly examine circumstances in which a license should be required, particularly the impacts costs would have on economic growth.

Currently, Illinois struggles with many economic challenges including ballooning pensions and a migration of businesses and workforce out of the state. Illinois already has over 100 professions requiring licenses and the bill could have only served to expand an already over-regulated economy.

While many regulations are well intentioned, they oftentimes have unforeseen consequences that can negatively impact growth, hiring, or even subject employers to costly fines for failing to fully comply with the law. In these situations, consulting with an experienced Chicago employment lawyer can help alleviate legal stress and ensure business goes forward as planned.

Chicago employment lawyers

If you are a business owner and have questions about how regulations will impact your company’s growth or need legal guidance on a possible violation, contact our office for a consultation about your case. The dedicated Chicago employment lawyers of Goldman & Ehrlich have years of experience helping businesses and employees navigate the complicated legal waters of business law. Call us today312.332.6733.

Is Your Business Complying With The Illinois Prevailing Wage Act?

If you are a contractor or subcontractor in the state of Illinois, you should be aware of the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act, which pertains to wages for construction workers, laborers, and mechanics on public works. Understanding the Act is important, as even unintentional violations of the law could have severe impacts on the economic health of a business and even prevent it from obtaining future public contracts with the state.

Under the Act, employees on public works must be paid the general prevailing rate on public works projects, which consists of the hourly cash rate as well as any fringe benefits awarded to other workers conducting work similar in character in the locality where the job is performed. To help aid with compliance, the Illinois Department of Labor provides a county by county list of the prevailing wages for various trades, including:

  • Truck drivers
  • Brick layers
  • Boilermakers
  • Carpenters
  • Cement masons
  • Electricians
  • Iron workers
  • Machinists
  • Laborers
  • Painters
  • Roofers
  • Plumbers

The law defines “public works” as “all fixed works constructed or demolished by any public body, or paid for wholly or in part out of public funds” and includes “all projects financed in whole or in part with bonds, grants, loans, or other funds made available by or through the State or any of its political subdivisions.”

Penalties for violating the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act

Contractors and subcontractors found underpaying their laborers on public works projects must compensate the employees the difference between the wages paid and the prevailing wage under the law. Furthermore, violators could be subject to other penalties including fines and punitive damages.

Even worse, repeat violators could be barred for receiving contracts for public works projects for four years if found to have broken the provisions of the Prevailing Wage Act two times within a five-year period. Without the income from state government contracts, many construction companies would struggle to stay in business.

When the Illinois Department of Labor receives a complaint, the director conducts an audit and investigation of the incident and provides a notice of violation to the employer if one exists. After receiving a second notice of violation, the contractor may request an initiation of a hearing within 10 days of the notice to try and prevent the prohibition from receiving state contracts.

Illinois employment lawyers

If you received a notice your business violated the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act, contact our office for a consultation on your case. The experienced employment lawyers of Goldman & Ehrlich can help your business avoid costly penalties or debarment which could cripple your company. Call us today 312-332-6733.