If one were to include Illinois in the list of states that require employers to provide sick leave, that would be understandable. After all, Illinois last year enacted the Eligible Leave for Employee Caregiving Time (ELECT) law, commonly known as the Sick Leave Act. Understandable, but wrong. The Illinois law does not require employers to provide any sick leave. It only requires that if an employer provides sick leave, it must allow employees to use the time for illness, injury or medical appointments for certain relatives.
The misleadingly titled law also had some unartful wording. For example, its definition of “personal sick leave benefits” excluded “absences from work for which compensation is provided through an employer’s plan,” which led some, like me, to believe that the law only applied to unpaid time off, at least arguably so.
Ten days after the Sick Leave Act went into effect, on January 10, 2017, the Illinois legislature amended it to clarify a few issues and add some provisions. The amendment:
Modifies the definition of “personal sick leave benefits” to mean “any paid or unpaid time available to an employee as provided through an employment benefit plan or paid time off policy,” excluding LTD, STD, an insurance policy or other comparable benefit plan or policy. (emphasis added). So much for my argument that it only applied to unpaid time off policies.
Adds stepchild and domestic partner to the lengthy list of an employee’s relatives for whom the employee may use the personal sick leave benefits. Continue reading