PLAWA Final Rules Published in Illinois Register: Time to Revise Your Policy?

MMA JCJ

The final administrative rules for the Illinois Paid Leave for All Workers Act (PLAWA) (820 ILCS 192/1 et seq.) were published in the Illinois Register on May 17, 2024. These final rules do not quite answer all the questions employers and employment attorneys have been asking, however they do outline clarification for some of the ambiguous aspects of the law, such as when an employer may deny a request for paid leave, as well as additional responsibilities for employers, for instance the new requirement to keep records of denials of paid leave for at least three years.

Employers were already required to start complying with the law, including providing a written policy to employees and paid leave under the Act effective March 31, 2024. These rules provide an opportunity for employers to revise their current PLAWA policies to include those aspects of the law covered in the final rules.

While it is recommended that employers review all the rules, below are some of the most important updates and clarifications made in the published final rules.

Section 200.230 Frontloading Paid Leave at the Start of a 12-Month Period

  • Outline of the requirements for changing the established benefit year.

Section 200.300 General Provisions

  • Employees can choose to use other available paid leave before available paid leave under PLAWA.
  • Employers should confirm what type of leave to use when employees have more than one type of paid leave available.
  • Clarifying examples provided for the two-hour minimum use provision.

Section 200.310 Paid Leave Usage Policy and Notice Requirements

  • Any PLAWA policy must be in English as well as any other language the workforce uses.
  • An employer’s policy may require employees to provide written notice after making an oral request for paid leave.
  • An employer may deny an employee’s PLAWA request if:
    • The policy for considering leave requests, including any basis for denial, is disclosed to employees, in writing;
    • The policy establishes limited circumstances in which request can be denied in order to meet the employer’s operational needs for the request; and
    • The policy is consistently applied to similarly situated employees and does not effectively deny an employee adequate opportunity to use all paid leave time the employee is entitled to over a 12-month period.
  • An employer may restrict an employee’s use of paid leave to known or anticipated work schedule.

Section 200.320 Carry Over

  • An employer’s policy may restrict an employee’s ability to carry over more than 40 hours of unused paid leave.

Section 200.440 Recordkeeping Requirements

  • Employers must keep all requests by employees for PLAWA that have been denied for three years.

If you have any questions on the final rules for the Paid Leave for All Workers Act or any other employment matter, please reach out to Michael A. Airdo at mairdo@airdowerwas.com or James C. Jansen at jjansen@airdowerwas.com.

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