Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act enhances leave allowances

Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act Adds Rules for Sick Leave

Businesses in Illinois now have a flurry of new sick leave laws to abide by. From Chicago to Cook County to the state level, several new laws were added to the books. Statewide, there are another two on the schedule to be reviewed early in 2017. The new Illinois laws that were passed are the Employee Sick Leave Act, The Child Bereavement Act, and an updated addendum to the Victims Economic Security and Safety Act. The purpose of this article is to give an overview of what employers with employees in the State of Illinois need to be aware of in regards to the Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act.  

Overview of the Sick Leave Act

The Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act (ESLA) only applies to employers who already offer sick leave. Once the Cook County and Chicago Sick Leave Ordinances go into effect, this will apply to all employers in the affected geographies. Basically, ESLA states that if an employer offers sick leave that they must allow employees to use half of their allotted sick leave to help sick family members.

Allowable Uses of ESLA

Employees who have already been granted sick leave are now allowed to use half of their sick leave allowances to help family members for the same reasons that the employee is able to use sick leave for their employer. Specifically, ESLA defines that employees can use sick leave for illness, medical appointment or injury for the following family members:

  1. Child or grandchild
  2. Spouse or domestic partner
  3. Parent or stepparent
  4. Mother-in-law or father-in-law
  5. Sibling

ESLA is not designed to increase the amount of sick leave that employees get, nor does it require employers who do not offer paid sick leave to start offering sick leave. It only defines that if an employee already has sick leave awarded to them by their employer, that the employee is also allowed to use half of that sick leave to help the specified family members. The use of the sick leave is in accordance with the company’s policies. As an example, if an employer allows an employee to use sick leave for domestic violence reasons, then the employee would now be able to help a child who is a victim of domestic violence also.

Employers are allowed to limit the amount of leave that an employee takes to care for a family member to the six months worth of accrued leave in a year. However, the law does not circumvent other laws such as Chicago or Cook County laws, which allow for all sick leave use to be used to care for family members. The Employee Sick Leave Act are additional rights granted under the law. Therefore, ESLA does not replace the obligation of employers to grant sick leave under the Chicago Ordinance also. Therefore, employers under Chicago’s Sick Leave Ordinance are still required to allow sick leave use for family members up to the full 40 hours of sick leave a year and are not relieved of that obligation.

Dates to Remember

The Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act goes into effect January 1, 2017. It is important for companies with employees in Illinois to review sick leave policy and make sure that managers and employees are aware of the new act.


Employers are prohibited from retaliating against any employee who exerts or attempts to exert their rights under ESLA. Further employees are protected when they file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor, alleging a violation, cooperating in an investigation of an alleged violation, or opposing any policy or practice that the act prohibits.

Let SwipeClock Help

Businesses who have employees in Illinois may have to comply with multiple city, county and state laws defining Sick leave accrual and usage laws. Additionally, these businesses have to also comply with Federal Overtime Laws, the Family Leave Medical Act and any other national or local laws that are enacted. SwipeClock provides a comprehensive array of workforce management and time tracking tools that can help businesses to more easily stay in compliance with local and national laws and track paid and unpaid leave. Records are effortlessly kept for years and accrual is automatically tracked and reported to employees according the state and city laws.

About SwipeClock

SwipeClock is a leading provider of cloud-based integrated workforce management solutions that include automated time and attendance, advanced scheduling, and leave management capabilities. The company’s products, including TimeWorks Plus, Time Simplicity, and Workforce Management Clock enable employers to manage their most important and expensive asset-employees-by transforming labor from a cost of doing business to a competitive advantage. SwipeClock’s workforce management solutions are sold through over 850 partners that empower more than 26,000 businesses to lower labor costs, comply with regulatory mandates, and maximize their profits. For more information, please visit