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What Are My Rights Under Illinois Employment Laws?

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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