On August 24, Illinois Governor Quinn signed a bill to expand the coverage of the Illinois Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA) to include PRIVATE EMPLOYERS WHO EMPLOY 15 TO 49 EMPLOYEES. VESSA had previously applied to only private employers with at least 50 employees, and to all public employers regardless of number of employees.

VESSA is designed to allow leave of absence to employees who have been victims of domestic violence or who have family or "household" members who have been victims of domestic violence. VESSA also requires employers to accommodate such employees in a manner that "accommodates the legitimate interests of employers and protects the safety of all persons in the workplace." Such accommodation could include changing job shifts, installing locks, or other measures in response to actual or threatened domestic violence.

The new law requires employers with at least 15 and up to 49 employees to allow up to eight weeks of leave of absence, while all other covered employers must allow up to 12 weeks of leave. All covered employers must have the provisions of the law posted at the worksite, and should modify leave of absence policies to cover leave of absence for domestic violence. To provide you with additional information, I have attached the current VESSA fact sheet maintained by the Illinois Department of Labor. This sheet does not yet reflect the new expanded VESSA provisions. Please let me know if you would like additional assistance in understanding, complying with, or training your personnel regarding this law.