Employers in the State of Illinois must become more aware of their obligations arising under the Income Withholding for Support Act (750 ILCS 28/1 et seq.). This Act provides the authority for a court of law to designate that periodic payments of funds for the support of a child or a maintenance of the spouse can be collected from the Employer of the individual having an obligation to make those payments. It is the obligation of any Employer to deduct from the "income" of any individual the required court-ordered periodic payments from that individual's income. The term "income" is defined as "wages, salary, commission, compensation as an independent contractor, worker's compensation, disability payments, annuity payments, pension payments and retirement benefits, lottery prize awards, insurance proceeds, vacation pay, bonuses, profit-sharing payments, severance payments, and any other payment" (750 ILCS 28/15 § D). Obviously, the breadth of income is extremely broad and certainly would cover "any and all" monies paid by an Employer to an employee!
Over the last five (5) years, there has been a drastic increase in the number of lawsuits filed alleging violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in an attempt to procure back wages and liquidated damages for affected employees. A vast number of these lawsuits have turned into large class action litigations. Any employer who has been involved in this type of scenario is well aware that the "actual bottom line cost" of these cases is not just the alleged back wages and liquidated damages due to the affected employees, but by statute, will include substantial payments to Plaintiff's counsel for "reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by the successful Plaintiff in pursing their claim."