Wage and Hour Laws in Illinois | Current Illinois Labor Laws


Minimum Wage

Illinois’ current minimum wage is $12.00.

The minimum wage will gradually increase in Illinois. In January 2023, it will increase to $13 per hour; in January 2024 to $14 per hour; and in January 2025 to $15 per hour. All employers in Illinois must also comply with all federal minimum wage laws. 

If an employee receives tips, the minimum wage is $7.20. This will increase to $7.80 in 2023, $8.40 in 2024, and $9 in 2025. There are also laws stating employers may be eligible to pay disabled workers a wage rate lower than the standard minimum wage if they have a license from the Illinois Department of Labor.

To learn more about the state’s minimum wage laws, visit our Illinois Minimum Wage Laws page, which includes topics such as minimum wage, tip minimum wage, tip sharing and pooling, and subminimum wages.

Related topics covered on other pages include:


Overtime

Illinois labor laws require employers to pay employees overtime at a rate of one and a half times their regular wage rate when they work more than 40 hours in a single workweek, unless otherwise exempt. IL Dept. of Labor FAQs. See FLSA: Overtime for more information regarding overtime requirements.


One Day Rest in Seven

Illinois labor laws require employers to give each employee at least 24 hours of rest in every calendar week. 820 ILCS 140/2; IL Dept. of Labor FAQs. This means you cannot work seven days in a single workweek. However, some exceptions apply.

An employer subject to this requirement may obtain a permit allowing employees to voluntarily work seven days in a workweek. 56 Ill. Adm. Code 220.200. An employer does not need to provide justification for the permits for the first eight weeks of a seven-day workweek. After the eighth week, an employer needs to justify the request. IL Admin. Code 220.200.


Prevailing Wages

Under certain circumstances, employers may be required to pay residents wage rates established by the federal or state prevailing wage rates and rules. The prevailing wage may be different from the state’s standard minimum wage.

Employees may be eligible for prevailing wages if they work on federal or state government or government-funded construction projects or perform certain federal or state government services. See the Illinois Prevailing Wages, Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA), and Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA) to learn more.


Meals and Breaks

Illinois law requires employers to permit employees who are to work 7½ continuous hours or more to take a meal period of at least 20 minutes. The meal period may be unpaid and it must be given to an employee no later than 5 hours after beginning work. 820 ILCS 140/3.

Moreover, an employer must permit employees to take at least a twenty (20) minute meal period for each continuous 7½ hours they work. IL Admin. Code Title 56, § 220.800 For example, if an employee is scheduled to work fifteen (15) hours in one continuous shift, the employer would be required to permit the employee to take two twenty (20) minute breaks.

The state does not have a law regarding breaks other than the 20-minute meal period, thus the federal standard applies. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal (lunch) period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than 20 minutes, must be paid. See Meal and Break Laws.

For Illinois employees under the age of 16, employers must provide a meal (lunch) period of at least 30 minutes if the employee is scheduled to work more than 5 consecutive hours. 820 ILCS 205/4.


Nursing Mother Breaks

Labor laws require employers to provide employees who are nursing mothers with reasonable breaks times to express breast milk up until the child is one year old unless:

  • the employer has fewer than five (5) employees and
  • doing so would create an undue hardship on the operations of the employer

Employers may request that employees express breast milk at times that are concurrent with other breaks already provided by the employers. However, employers must pay employees for nursing mother breaks.

Employers must make reasonable efforts to provide nursing mother employees with locations in close proximity to their work area to express breast milk in private. Toilet stalls do not meet the minimum standards under state law.

820 ILCS 260

Whether an employer will suffer an undue hardship depends on:

  • the nature and cost of allowing nursing mother breaks;
  • the overall financial resources of the operation involved, the number of persons employed by the operation, the effect on expenses and resources, or the impact otherwise on the operation;
  • the overall financial resources of the employer, the overall size of the business of the employer with respect to the number of its employees, and the number, type, and location of its facilities; and
  • the type of operation or operations of the employer, including the composition, structure, and functions of the workforce of the employer, the geographic separateness, administrative, or fiscal relationship of the facility or facilities in question to the employer.

The employer has the burden of proving the undue hardship.

775 ILCS 5/2-102(J)


Vacation Leave

In Illinois, no law requires places of business to give workers vacation benefits, whether unpaid or paid. However, if there is an established policy or it has been promised in the contract, an employer must provide vacation leave and benefits. Moreover, the law mandates that a place of business must compensate workers for accumulated leave at the end of the contract. 

It is unlawful for an employer in Illinois to create or maintain a policy that requires the forfeiture of employees’ accrued vacation time at the end of the contract. However, there are laws that allow employers to implement vacation policies where employees must use vacation time by a specific date, or in other words, a use-it or lose-it policy.

More about Illinois vacation leave laws may now be found on our Illinois Leave Laws page.


Sick Leave

Illinois obligates places of business to give workers sick leave, whether unpaid or paid. However, if employers provide sick leave, they must allow employees to use those sick leave days due to a medical appointment (either for themselves or a family member), injury, or illness.

In addition, a place of business may give workers unpaid sick leave according to the standards set out in the federal Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.

More about Illinois sick leave laws may now be found on our Illinois Leave Laws page.


Holiday Leave

Illinois does not obligate employers to offer unpaid or paid holiday pay to their employees. It is lawful for a private-sector employer to require an employee to work during holidays. Moreover, a private employer is not required to compensate a worker with additional pay for working holiday hours unless the employee works enough to receive overtime pay according to federal overtime regulations. 

However, if an employer provides unpaid or paid holiday time, they must adhere to the conditions set out in the employment contract. There are also official Illinois state holidays that are observed. 

More about Illinois holiday leave laws may now be found on our Illinois Leave Laws page.


Jury Duty Leave

Illinois requires employers to give time off to employees to serve jury duty, regardless of the employee’s shift. Therefore, it is against the law for an employer to make an employee work a night shift while serving jury duty. 

However, an employer is not obligated to compensate workers for the time taken off for jury duty. It is also unlawful for an employer to discharge, threaten to dismiss, penalize, coerce, or intimidate an employee answering a jury duty summons.

More about Illinois jury duty leave laws may now be found on our Illinois Leave Laws page.


Voting Leave

Illinois law states that if an employee’s working hours start within two hours after poll opening or end less than two hours before the poll closing, employees must get paid to take time to vote. 

Employers are allowed to specify the hours during which the employees may be absent from work to vote but are not allowed to penalize employees for taking leave to vote. However, employers can deny an employee the right to take leave to vote if the leave was not applied before the election day.

More about Illinois voting leave laws may now be found on our Illinois Leave Laws page.


Severance Pay

Illinois labor laws do not require employers to provide employees with severance pay. If an employer chooses to provide severance benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.


Unemployment

Under certain circumstances, Illinois residents may be eligible for unemployment benefits while they search for another job. You are required to certify that you are unemployed on a weekly basis to receive these benefits.

There must be an acceptable reason for separation from employment to qualify for unemployment benefits in Illinois. This means that the end of your employment can be due to no fault of your own, whether you quit, are fired, laid off, or had hours or wages reduced. If the fault is yours, then you will not be eligible. 

Moreover, you must also be willing to accept new employment as long as it meets specific criteria, and you must be actively seeking new employment. To qualify for unemployment benefits, you must have earned at least $1,600 in covered employment within the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters, including $440 outside of the quarter during which the wages were the highest.

See Illinois State Unemployment Benefits.


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We hope you find our newsletters help you better navigate employment and labor law issues.