The Top 8 New Illinois Employment Laws in 2017

January 1st marked a new year with nearly 200 new Illinois scheduled to take effect in 2017.  Among these new laws are many governing Illinois labor forces, employees and employers.  See below for a quick overview of some of the key laws that will impact Illinois employees this new year.

1.  Non-Competes for Illinois Low-Wage Employees cannot be mandatory

In June 2016 Illinois Attorney General file a lawsuit against sandwich shop Jimmy John’s over non-compete arrangements with employees who primarily take food orders, make and deliver sandwiches at nearly 300 locations in Illinois.   In December 2016 Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced a settlement with Jimmy John’s for imposing highly restrictive non-compete arrangements on its low-wage sandwich shop employees and delivery drivers, and in part requiring Jimmy John’s to notify all current and former employees that their non-compete agreements are unenforceable.   In 2017, the Illinois Freedom to Work Act (SB 3163/ PA 99-0860) will be enforced.  The law prohibits employers from requiring non-compete clauses for low-wage employees, such as Illinois food order takers and food delivery drivers.

2.  Illinois Employees can use Sick Leave for direct family members

Do you ever need to take time off from work to take of your sick child or family member?  Does your boss give you a hard time or question your use of sick time for things such as medical appointments for a child?  Under the Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act (HB 6162/PA 99-0841), employees may use personal sick leave benefits for absences due to an illness, injury, or medical appointment of an employee’s direct family members.  This law is separate from the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) which gives select workers up to 12-weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for serious health conditions when eligibility requirements are met.

3.  Unpaid leave for workers impacted by Illinois Domestic/Sexual Violence 

According to the Illinois State Police, as recent as 2014 over 65,000 intimate violence cases were reported in Illinois.  Unfortunately many cases go unreported.  Experiencing these issues can bring about crisis and require employees to take time off from work.  In 2017, under the Illinois Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act ((HB 4036/PA 99-0765), Illinois employers must provide unpaid work weeks of leave to an employee who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence or has a family member who is a victim.  The exact amount of allowed time off is determined based on the size of the business.

4. Select Illinois Cosmetology Licensees Must Train for Domestic Violence

Many Illinois workers rely on professional licensing issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and other state agencies.   Starting in 2017, a new law will require domestic violence training for select Cosmetology Act licensees.  Effective January 1, 2017, a new law requires a one-hour, one-time education course on domestic violence for all new cosmetologists, cosmetology teachers, estheticians, hair braiders, nail technicians and other select groups.  IDFPR states the new requirement will not be effective until the promulgation and implementation of Rules, which require approval by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR)

5. Illinois Health Care Workers License Reinstatement Option for non-sexual, nonviolent felonies

Many Illinois workers rely on professional licensing issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and other state agencies.   The Illinois Department of Professional Regulation Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois (SB 0042/PA 99-0886) allows health care workers to petition to have their licenses reinstated if they committed certain non-sexual, nonviolent felonies that happened at least 5 years ago.

6. Illinois Plumbers must complete annual training

Improper plumbing can cause serious health issues, as it can result in unsafe drinking water or the escape of toxic gases.  To protect the public, the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) regulates the plumbing trade in Illinois and all plumbers who plan, inspect, install, alter, extend, repair and/or maintain plumbing systems in the state must be licensed.  IDPH licenses nearly 9,000 plumbers and 2,000 apprentice plumbers.   In 2017, the Illinois Plumbing License Law (HB 5913/PA 99-0504) will require licensed plumbers to complete 4 hours of continuing education each year.

7.  Illinois Professional Licenses, Criminal Records and Child Support Owed

Many Illinois workers rely on professional licensing issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and other state agencies.  Under a new law, IDFPR may not deny a request for a professional license solely on the basis of an applicant’s criminal record unless he or she was convicted of a crime directly related to the occupation for which the license is sought.  The new law loosens rules involving discipline for license holders who owe child support (See Illinois HB 5973/PA 99-0876).

8. Illinois requires pilots with federal flying credentials to pay one-time registration fee

Starting in 2017, Illinois pilots will have to pay a one-time registration fee to the state.  Changes to the Illinois Aeronautics Act require pilots to register federal flying credentials with the state of Illinois for a one-time $20 fee (See HB 4387/PA 99-0605).

Pietrucha Law offers affordable legal services for current and fired employees in Illinois and Washington.   Our team is ready to assist with employment and other legal matters.  Visit our website for more information or follow us on social media @PietruchaLaw on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.