Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Illinois General Assembly Legislative Update

With another legislative session in the books, the Illinois General Assembly (IGA) sent a litany of labor and employment-related bills to the Governor's desk. Below is a synopsis of all new updates, including bills awaiting Governor Pritzker's signature or that he already signed:

Illinois Freedom to Work Act (IFWA)

The Illinois General Assembly made a series of notable changes to the IFWA in S.B. 0672 that employers should know regarding restrictive covenants (non-compete agreements) in employment contracts:

  • Non-compete agreements now include a salary threshold where an employee must earn at least $75,000 per year for an employer to enforce the agreement.
  • The salary threshold for non-compete agreements increases to $80,000 per year by 2027, $85,000 per year by 2032, and $90,000 per year by 2037.
  • Such agreements for employees terminated, furloughed, or laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic are unenforceable unless compensation provided to the employee at the time of separation includes equivalent compensation of the employee's base salary—minus compensation earned through subsequent employment.
  • Non-compete agreements are unenforceable for employees covered by collective bargaining agreements under the Illinois Public Relations Act or the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act.
  • The amendment includes procedures for administering non-compete agreements, including solicitation, notice, and enforcement requirements for agreements and administrative remedies.

Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act

On July 7, 2021, Governor Pritzker signed H.B. 0118, which amends the Act by increasing the damages available to an employee for a wage claim of underpaid wages to five percent, up from two percent, for each month wages are not paid. This amendment went into effect immediately after signing.

Personnel Records Review Act

The Illinois General Assembly passed S.B. 2486, which amends the Illinois Personnel Record Review Act to change an aggrieved employee's time to file an action alleging a violation from seven years down to three.

Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA)

Under H.B. 0121, the Illinois General Assembly amended the IHRA by passing protections for immigrants authorized to work in the United States. Specifically, the amendment includes a person's work authorization status to be protected against unlawful harassment or discrimination.

Victim's Economic Safety and Security Act (VESSA)

H.B. 3582 amends VESSA to include that victims and family members of victims of violent crimes are subject to the provisions and protections of the Act regarding unpaid leave and prohibited discriminatory acts. Previously, the Act only protected victims and family members of domestic violence, sexual violence, and gender violence victims. Further, victims of violent crimes shall not be barred from collecting voluntary leave benefits under the amendment.