Data indicates that over 1.5 million Illinoisans care for family members. Sadly, many of them have had to make difficult choices while juggling work and the responsibility of caring for an ill loved one. A new employment law
, implemented at the beginning of 2017, may mitigate some of the challenges and difficulties they experience. The following explains this law more in depth, and provides key information on what to do if your employer is failing to meet the requirements of the new law.
Covering the Basics
The new law has redefined personal sick leave, giving employees the right to use their sick leave time to care for a sick child, parent, spouse, or other immediate family member or dependent. Further, an employers cannot deny, threaten, suspend, or demote an employee for attempting to exercise the rights afforded to them by the new law. Of course, there are some limitations and exclusions that employees need to be aware of - especially if they believe their employer may be in violation of the law.
Law Does Not Require Employers to Offer Sick Leave
Although the new law does expand sick leave for those that already have it, it does not require employers to start or implement a paid sick leave program. There is a law for the Chicago area that will require all employers to offer sick leave to eligible employees, but this only applies to the city of Chicago, and it does not go into effect until July 1, 2017.
Employers Can Limit Sick Leave Time for Family Members
If an employer offers paid sick leave to their employees, they can restrict the amount of time that an employee can use for a family member. That is to say, employers do have the right to restrict their employees from using more than half of their paid sick leave benefits for a family member. Further, the employer does not have to extend the leave an employee is permitted to take under the Family Medical Leave Act.
Filing a Case Against Your Employer
If you believe that you have been wrongly terminated, punished, or threatened with punishment for exercising your right to paid sick leave under the new law, contact Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. Dedicated and experienced, our Arlington Heights employment law attorneys
will fight to protect your rights. Schedule a personalized consultation to learn more. Call us at 847-934-6000 today.
About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.