Guide to Illinois Employee Rights
If you are an employee in the state of Illinois, federal and state labor laws give you rights when dealing with your employer. Understanding your IL employee rights is important for every employee in the state, whether you're hourly or salaried. This guide will explain your Illinois employee rights under the law and help you understand what to do if your employer has violated your legal rights while at work.
Most employees have guaranteed IL employee rights to overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times their normal hourly wage. Administrative, professional, and executive employees, as well as those who are employed in outside sales, are exempt and have no Illinois employee rights to overtime pay, regardless of hours worked. In order to qualify for this exemption, an employee must spend at least 80% of his or her time performing executive, administrative, outside sales, or professional functions.
IL employee rights specify a higher minimum wage than that created by federal law. While the federal minimum wage is only $7.25 an hour, Illinois employee rights require employers to pay $8.25 an hour to all employees. Employers may claim a credit on 40% of an employee's wages if they are primarily compensated by tips, but may not take the tips themselves.
Vacation and Sick Leave
Only one state in the United States, Connecticut, requires any sick leave to be given to employees. IL employee rights do not require employers to provide any sick or vacation leave to any employees. However, if you have a union contract or employment agreement with your employer, your employer is required to abide by the terms of the agreement.
Discrimination and Harassment
If you have been discriminated against on the basis of race, sex, national origin, disability, religion, or sexual orientation, whether at work or during the hiring process, your employer has violated your Illinois employee rights. Harassment for any of these reasons is also prohibited by state law. You may be able to sue your employer for violating your IL employee rights if you are being harassed or discriminated against at work. Talking to an employment lawyer who is familiar with Illinois employee rights may be helpful if you are not sure if your employer's conduct rises to the level of a lawsuit.
Meal Breaks and Day Breaks
All employees working a shift of longer than 7.5 hours are entitled by their IL employee rights to an unpaid meal break of at least 20 minutes. If your shift is shorter than 7.5 hours, your employer is not required to give you any short breaks for rest. Employers who do allow their employees short (less than 20 minute) breaks must pay for their employees' time during these breaks.
Illinois employee rights do require employers to provide reasonable breaks for an employee to use the bathroom or breastfeed as needed. If your employer will not give you adequate time to pump breast milk or use the bathroom, they are potentially violating your IL employee rights and you may be entitled to compensation.