As of January 1, 2017, the Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act requires Illinois employers who provide personal sick leave benefits to their employees to allow employees to take such leave for absences due to the illness, injury, or medical appointment of the employee’s child, spouse, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent. The leave must be granted on the same terms under which the employee is able to use sick leave benefits for his or her own illness or injury.
Under the Sick Leave Act, Illinois employers are required to provide employees the ability to use employer-provided personal sick leave benefits for absences of a reasonable amount of time due to illness, injury, or medical appointments of their immediate family, parents-in-law, grandchildren, or grandparents. Employees may use the leave on the same terms upon which the employees are able to use sick leave benefits for the employee’s own illness or injury.
Under the Act, an employer can limit the use of such benefits to an amount not less than the personal sick leave that would be accrued during six months at the employee’s then current rate of entitlement. Additionally, employees cannot use such benefits for absences for which the employer’s plan already compensates the employee. The rights and remedies specified in the Act are in addition to any other rights or remedies by contract or law. The Act does not extend the maximum period of leave under the FMLA, regardless of whether the employee receives sick leave compensation during that leave. Moreover, an employer may provide greater sick leave benefits than required under the Act.
Notably, employers who already have a paid time off policy that would otherwise provide benefits as required under the Act are not required to modify such policy.
The Act also includes a provision prohibiting retaliation for use of rights under the Act. Employers cannot deny an employee the right to use personal sick leave benefits. Furthermore, they cannot discharge, suspend, or discriminate against an employee for using their personal sick leave benefits in accordance with the Act.