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Illinois Department of Labor Issues COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance to Employers

As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues, the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) issued in March 2021, the following guidance for employers.

Mandatory Vaccination Programs

      Wages: If an employer requires employees to get vaccinated, the time the employee spends obtaining the vaccine is likely compensable even if it is non-working time.

      Paid Leave: Time off for vaccinations should be combined with paid leave for employees, or the employer should otherwise provide for the time taken by the employee.

Voluntary Vaccination Programs

      Time-Off: Employers should allow employees to utilize paid sick leave, vacation time or other paid time off for employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. If employer does NOT have paid time off, employer should consider offering the employee flex time or unpaid time off to be vaccinated.

Vaccination Requirements for Employee’s Family Members

      The Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act (ESLA) requires employers to allow their employees to use employer-provided sick leave benefits for absences due to, among other things, medical appointments of the employee’s child, stepchild, spouse, domestic partners, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparents, or stepparents on the same terms upon which the employee is able to use personal sick leave benefits for their employee’s own illness or injury. An appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine 1st dose or 2nd dose would qualify as a permissible medical appointment for purposes of the ESLA if the employers allows the use of an employee’s sick leave for purposes of vaccinations.  

In order to promote health and safety in the workplace, the Illinois Department of Labor recommends that employers review their leave and vaccination policies and revise accordingly to provide leave, time, and flexibility in order to encourage employees to obtain the 1st does and 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Employers should also review the following websites for the most recent information on the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have any questions on this topic, please contact attorney Anthony J. Caruso, Jr. in our St. Charles office at 630.377.1554 or by email at

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