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Legislative Update: Illinois Adopts Employee Sick Leave Act

Today, many employees face the dilemma of how to take time off from work to care for an ill family member and still be paid. Before this law, employees had to say they were sick (when they were not) in order to be off work to care for their family and still be paid. Or, the employee would have to rely on a compassionate employer who would allow the employee to use their personal sick days in this situation. Now, it will be mandated by law that paid personal sick days of the employee can be used for the illness of a family member. In August, 2016, Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Employee Sick Leave Act, effective January 1, 2017.

What EMPLOYERS are covered under this law?

All Illinois Employers are covered if they have paid sick leave for employees.

What EMPLOYEES are covered under this law?

All Illinois Employees are covered if they have paid sick leave at work.

What is the EMPLOYEE entitled to?

  • Employees can use paid personal sick leave benefits if already provided by the Company (excluding short-term and long-term disability) for an absence due to an illness, injury or medical appointment of a family member.
  • Limited to reasonable periods of time as the employee’s attendance may be necessary.
  • Same terms as the employee is able to use sick pay for their own illness or injury.
  • Employer can limit amount of use for this purpose to not less than six months that would accrue to employee’s own sick pay at current rate of entitlement.
  • Does not extend the maximum amount of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

How are family members defined under the law?

Employee’s child, spouse, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent.

Note: This law does NOT require Illinois employers to provide paid sick leave to employees; but rather, it DEFINES THE USE if the employee has existing paid sick benefits. Other laws as to municipal and county ordinances along with federal laws may require Illinois employers to provide paid sick leave to employees.

Employers may want to update their paid sick leave policy in their employee handbook to reflect this new law effective January 1, 2017.

Questions? Contact Attorney Anthony Caruso at Wessels Sherman St. Charles office at (630) 377-1554 or by email at

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