As the new year rolls in, Illinois employers should take note of new laws that went into effect on January 1, 2023.
First, Illinois has expanded and renamed the former Child Bereavement Leave Act, which is now called the Family Bereavement Leave Act. While the old law required employers to provide unpaid leave for the death of an employee’s child, the new law mandates up to two weeks of unpaid leave due to the death of the employee’s children, stepchildren, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parents, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchildren, grandparents, or stepparents. Children include biological, adopted, or foster children; stepchildren; legal wards; and children of a person standing in loco parentis. Leave under the new law is also available for a miscarriage, unsuccessful round of intrauterine insemination or of an assisted reproductive technology procedure, failed adoption, failed surrogacy agreement, diagnosis that negatively impacts pregnancy or fertility, or stillbirth. Employers should review their current leave policies to ensure compliance with the new law.
Second, the Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to specifically prohibit discrimination based on “traits associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists.” Employers should ensure that any dress code policies or other policies touching on employees’ appearances comply with the new law.
Third, Illinois amended the One Day Rest in Seven Act to require that employees be provided with at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in any consecutive seven-day period, instead of the former requirement that they be provided with at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in any calendar week. The new law also expands employee rest breaks, now requiring both a 20-minute meal period for an employee who has worked 7.5 hours and an additional 20-minute meal period for every 4.5 hours worked beyond the initial 7.5 hours. These breaks are in addition to any reasonable time employees spend using the restroom. Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement that addresses days of rest and meal periods are exempt from these requirements. Employers should evaluate their employee scheduling practices, as well as their meal and rest break policies, to determine if any changes are needed as a result of these amendments.