Illinois has a range of employment laws that employers in the state must follow. These regulations--which include minimum wage, overtime and certain employer-sponsored benefits--are administrated by the Illinois Department of Labor.
Minimum Wage and Overtime
In general, nonexempt employees under 18 in Illinois must receive at least the state minimum wage of $8.25 per hour, as of date of publication. Employees under 18 may be paid at $7.75 per hour. Nonexempt employees--which include most hourly, and some salaried, employees--are entitled to overtime wages at 1 1/2 times their regular pay rate for hours exceeding 40 per week.
Exempt employees, or employees who are excluded from overtime pay, do not have to be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. This includes executive, administrative and professional employees, agricultural workers, commissioned employees, and certain salesmen and mechanics.
Salaried employees who are not exempt are eligible for overtime.
Employees in Illinois must be paid no less than semimonthly. Exempt executive, administrative and professional workers can be paid monthly; commission payments can also be paid monthly, Payment may be made by cash, check or direct deposit. Payroll debit cards are acceptable if certain conditions are met, such as the employee voluntarily agreeing that the debit card is an acceptable option for payment. An employer cannot make payroll debit cards or direct deposit mandatory.
Employees must receive a pay stub showing a list of deductions taken out of their wages each period period. Employees who receive payment in cash must give their employer a signed receipt showing the payment amount and date.
Employees who work for 7 1/2 consecutive hours or more must receive an unpaid lunch break of no less than 20 minutes, within five hours of the start of their work shift. Illinois does not have rest period regulations.
Bonuses, severance pay and commissions are examples of supplemental wages, which are wages paid in addition to an employee's regular earnings. In Illinois:
- If the employer promises the employee an earned bonus, it must honor the terms of the agreement, provided the employee held up her end of the bargain.
- Severance is due only if the terms of the severance agreement have been fulfilled.
- Commissions must be paid if they are earned according to the terms of the agreement.
Vacation and Sick Leave
Illinois does not require that employers provide vacation time. An employer that chooses to give vacation must abide by the terms of the oral or written agreement. The vacation policy must be valid, as defined by the Illinois Department of Labor, and may require that employees take vacation by a specific time or they will lose it. This clause is acceptable, provided the employee is given reasonable notice to take the vacation. Although employers are not required to give sick leave, those that do must follow the terms of the agreement.
A separated employee is due final wages no later than the next regularly scheduled payday. The last paycheck must includes all wages owed. Under Illinois law, employers must pay out earned and unused vacation time when an employee terminates. The employee is entitled to unused sick time, severance and holiday pay only if there is a promise-to-pay arrangement. An employer may make deductions from final wages only if they comply with Illinois law, such as deductions required by law or if the employee has given her written consent.
Because Illinois is an at-will state, the employer or employee may sever the relationship at any time, without any reason.
When an employer gives paid time off from work for overtime hours worked instead of paying actual overtime wages, the time off is compensatory. In Illinois, this practice is illegal. Employers must pay overtime wages for weekly work hours over 40.
An employee may consult the Illinois Department of Labor website to file a complaint against an employer that violates state labor laws.