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As the new year approaches, employers and employees should be aware of new laws taking effect Jan. 1, as well as those already in effect due to action by the General Assembly and signature of Governor JB Pritzker.
“The mission at the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) is the same from year to year: protecting the rights, wages and welfare of workers. The tools we have to accomplish that mission sometimes change with legislative changes. There are several new laws that have either taken effect or will in the coming days that impact employees and employers across the state,” Illinois Department of Labor Director Michael Kleinik said.
■ The Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA) was amended to create the Violent Crime Victims’ Leave Act, which allows employees who are victims of violence or who have family or household members who are victims of violence to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per any 12-month period to seek medical help, legal assistance, counseling, safety planning, and other assistance. The amendment also prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who are victims of violence or who have family or household members who are victims of violence.
■ Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, IDOL is responsible for maintaining a database that allows the public to search certified payrolls submitted by construction contractors on public works projects subject to the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act. This is the result of Public Act 102-0332, which is intended to ensure contractors are complying with the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act. Contractors are required to file those certified payrolls by the 15th of each month. By the 16th day of each month following the month work was performed, IDOL will make relevant information available to the public. More information about the database can be found here.
■ There are new health insurance coverage disclosures employers must make to better inform employees in accordance with the Consumer Coverage Disclosure Act. While state health insurance coverage requirements are limited to state-regulated plans, the new law brings transparency by requiring all employers doing business in Illinois to disclose to their employees what group health plans do and do not cover, if they provide group health insurance. Employers offering group health insurance plans in Illinois must provide employees with a comparison of coverage by the employer’s group health plan and the essential health benefits covered by Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace health plans sold in Illinois. All in all, there are 42 medical services and treatments that employers must identify as covered or not. IDOL has provided employers guidance and necessary documents to comply with the disclosure requirements on its web site: Consumer Coverage Disclosure Act.
■ Trampoline courts will be subject to inspection and permitting under the Amusement Ride and Attraction Safety Act (ARAS) in 2022. IDOL does not allow amusement rides or attractions to operate unless they have been inspected and permitted. Rides and/or attractions are insured and meet predetermined safety standards before operating in Illinois. IDOL crafted legislation to make sure these facilities and employees meet industry standards. At the time of inspection, owners are required to provide documentation for all employees involved with the operation of trampoline equipment that a criminal history records check and sex offender registry check have been conducted, provide documentation they received proper training and have a substance abuse policy in place, which includes random drug testing. To read more about new rules for trampoline courts, click here.
To keep up with happenings at the Illinois Department of Labor, check out our news page.