Protecting Employers Since 1985

Illinois Employers Beware! The Illinois Sick Leave Act Differs from the FMLA as to Covered Family Members and Reasons for Leave

The Illinois Sick Leave Act requires employers to allow employees to take personal sick leave (if provided by the employer) due to the illness, injury, or medical appointments of covered family members.

Under the state law, the covered family members are as follows:

  • Child/stepchild
  • Spouse/domestic partner
  • Sibling/parent
  • Mother-in-law/father-in-law
  • Grandchild/grandparent/stepparent

However, under federal law, the Family and Medical Leave Act, which applies to employers with 50 or more employees, employees who qualify (working at least one year and 1,250 hours or more) can take up to 12 workweeks of medical leave for the serious health conditions of a covered family member.

Under the federal law (FMLA) the covered family members are limited to only the following individuals:

  • Son/daughter/in loco parentis
  • Spouse
  • Parent

The Illinois Sick Leave Act was amended on April 27, 2021, to allow employees to take sick leave for the personal care of a covered family member (in addition to the previous medical reasons under the law).

“Personal care” is defined as follows:

  • Basic medical, hygiene, nutritional, or safety needs
  • Provide transportation to medical appointments.
  • Being physically present to provide emotional support to a covered family member with a serious health conditions who is receiving inpatient or home care.

It is noted that the Illinois law allows employers to limit the use of sick leave for family members to ½ of the employee’s yearly sick leave allocated.

Based on the above, Illinois employers must carefully review their sick leave policies to ensure compliance under both state and federal laws.

Questions? Contact attorney Anthony J. Caruso, Jr., in our St. Charles office at 630-377-1554 or by email at

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