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Advertising What are the requirements relating to advertising open positions? There are no specific requirements under Illinois law. 

Background checks What can employers do with regard to background checks and inquiries?

(a) Criminal records and arrests The Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act (“Ban the Box Act”) prohibits most Illinois employers from considering or inquiring into a job applicant’s criminal record or history until after the individual has been determined qualified for the position and notified of an impending interview or, if the applicant will not be interviewed, until after a conditional offer of employment is made. The act does not preclude an employer from notifying applicants in writing of specific offenses that will disqualify an applicant from employment in a particular position due to federal or state law or the employer’s policy. Additionally, Illinois employers are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees on the basis of their arrest records.

(b) Medical history The Genetic Information Privacy Act prohibits employers from seeking or using genetic information for personnel-related reasons. It is similar to the federal Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act, except that the Genetic Information Privacy Act covers employers with at least one employee. Additionally, the AIDS Confidentiality Act provides that no person may order an HIV test without first obtaining the documented informed consent of the subject of the test or the subject’s legally authorized representative.

(c) Drug screening Illinois has no statute relating to drug testing. However, the Illinois Human Rights Act explicitly states that it is not illegal for employers to require drug tests of employees who have or are in a drug rehabilitation program.

(d) Credit checks The Illinois Credit Privacy Act prohibits covered employers from inquiring about an applicant or employee’s credit history or obtaining a copy of his or her credit report. However, employers may inquire about an employee or applicant’s credit history for a position in which credit history is a “bona fide occupational qualification,” as defined in the act.

(e) Immigration status Although there are no explicit protections under Illinois law based on immigration status, the Illinois Human Rights Act, Cook County Human Rights Ordinance and Chicago Human Rights Ordinance all prohibit discrimination on the basis of national origin.

(f) Social media The Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act allows employers to access employees’ professional social media accounts. However, the act generally prohibits employers from requesting that any employee or prospective employee provide a password or other account information to enable the employer to gain access to an employee’s personal social networking accounts.

Wage and hour

Pay What are the main sources of wage and hour laws in your state? The Illinois Minimum Wage Law, the Equal Pay Act, the Prevailing Wage Act, and the Chicago Minimum Wage Law are the primary wage and hour laws in Illinois.

What is the minimum hourly wage? The minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 per hour. Effective as of July 1 2016, the minimum wage in the City of Chicago is $10.50 per hour. The Chicago minimum wage will increase to $11 per hour effective from July 1 2017, and will continue to rise each year thereafter.

What are the rules applicable to final pay and deductions from wages? Final payment of wages must occur at the time of separation, if possible, but no later than the next regularly scheduled payday. Further, expenses incurred related to services performed for the employer should be included in the final compensation paid to a separated employee.

Hours and overtime What are the requirements for meal and rest breaks? Employees who work for seven and a half continuous hours or longer must be “permit[ted] at least a 20-minute meal break beginning no later than 5 hours after the start of work.” This requirement applies to virtually all employees, including exempt employees; the only exceptions are for employees who monitor persons with developmental disabilities and employees whose meal periods are fixed by a collective bargaining agreement. No other rest or meal breaks are required under Illinois law.

What are the maximum hour rules? The Illinois One Day Rest in Seven Act requires employers to give employees at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in every calendar week. A calendar week is defined as seven consecutive 24-hour periods starting at 12:01 a.m. Sunday morning and ending at midnight the following Saturday. There are various exceptions to this rule, including for exempt employees and for employees required to work under emergency conditions.

How should overtime be calculated? Overtime is calculated as one and one half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for any hours worked in excess of 40 in a working week.

What exemptions are there from overtime? Illinois recognizes the executive, administrative and professional exemptions to its overtime law. However, the requirements to meet the exemptions under Illinois law are more onerous than the requirements to meet the exemptions under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Record keeping What payroll and payment records must be maintained? Under the Equal Pay Act, employers must preserve records documenting the name, address, and wages paid to each employee for a period of not less than five years, or longer if the employer is the subject of an investigation by the Department of Labor. Additionally, regardless of an employee’s status as an exempt administrative employee, executive or professional, every employer must keep for at least three years accurate records of:

  • the name and address of each employee;
  • the hours worked each day in each working week by each employee;
  • the rate of pay;
  • the amount paid each pay period to each employee; and
  • all deductions made from wages or final compensation. 

An employer that provides paid vacation to its employees must maintain records for no less than three years of the number of vacation days earned for each year and the dates on which such vacation days were taken and paid.

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