The time employees spend working and how much they are paid for their time is governed by wage and hour laws. These laws include such topics as what constitutes time worked, what employers are required to pay for, minimum wage, tips, overtime, and rest and meal breaks. It is critical that employers gain a full understanding of wage and hour laws to ensure they are in compliance.
Minimum Wage in Illinois
In Illinois, the minimum wage is $8.25 per hour for workers who are 18 and older. The state allows employers to pay workers a training wage of $7.75 for the first 90 days of their employment. The state’s minimum wage is higher than the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25 for every hour worked. Most employees in Illinois are entitled to the higher state minimum wage.
Minimum Wage of Tipped Workers: Employers in Illinois must pay workers who earn tips the minimum wage of $8.25 per hour if they utilize the state’s tip credit, which allows them to take credit for up to 40 percent of each worker’s tips. If they are not using the tip credit, they are permitted to pay tipped workers a lesser hourly wage of $4.95 per hour. This option is in line with the federal law, which allows employers to pay workers a lesser amount provided their total income averages the minimum wage.
Does Minimum Wage Apply to Me: The Illinois Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies to most employers. Workers exempt from wage and hour laws in Illinois include outside sales employees, some skilled computer workers, and salaried administrators and executives. To learn more about who is covered and who is exempt, refer to the Illinois Department of Labor.
When are Raises Required: Raises are not covered under Illinois’ wage and hour laws. Pay increases are given based on agreements between employers and their workers and are often contingent upon an employee’s overall productivity and quality of work, among other factors.
Work Hours in Illinois
Illinois and federal wage and hour regulations do not set limits on the number of hours employees are permitted to work in a day or week. With few exceptions, the state requires employers to give workers at least 24 hours off in each calendar week.
Paying Overtime: State and federal laws stipulate that employers pay employees who work more than 40 hours in a week overtime. While these laws apply to most employers, there are a number of exceptions. For example, dealership mechanics and agricultural laborers are usually not covered by overtime laws, nor are some salespeople who earn commissions.
Guaranteed Breaks and Meals: Illinois law specifies that workers who are 17 and older must be given a 20-minute unpaid break for every 7 1/2 hours of work. These breaks must be given within five hours of when they started their work. State and federal regulations also require employers to allow nursing mothers time to express milk for up to one year after they give birth.
Paid Time-off and Sick Pay: Illinois employers are not required to offer workers sick pay or paid time-off, and there are no federal mandates regarding these topics. Any agreements to this end are arranged by employers.
Notice Period for Termination: Illinois is an employment-at-will state. This means employers are permitted to end employment without notice for any reason, unless they have a contract that specifies otherwise.
Plant Closings & Layoffs: In certain situations, Illinois employers must provide 60 days’ notice when laying off employees or closing plants. They must adhere to the state’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which covers employers with more than 75 full-time workers, as well as plant closings and mass layoffs. This is similar to the federal WARN Act, which applies to employers with more than 100 full-time employees.
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