Government Affairs Roundup
“Your Timely Roundup of Local, State, and Federal Updates”

Chamber members:

In an effort to not continually spend time with long updates that sound the same week to week, here’s the story … the federal funding picture has not changed. Lawmakers are almost certain to need an extension of their September 30th deadline, when federal funds are set to run out.

Additionally, don’t miss the extensive list of updates to employment law here in Illinois as well as a proposal to increase the threshold for required overtime payments to salaried workers.

*Government Affairs Roundup brought to you by CITGO & Silver Cross Hospital*

Employment Law Changes Not to Ignore
While the summer months are often associated with rest and relaxation for many, it hasn’t been the case for those trying to keep up with the constant changes in the state’s employment laws. If you haven’t already noted the changes, now is the time.

Below is a list of the key developments that will impact employers in Illinois and provide an overview of the evolving legal landscape in the state. Implementing these new laws will require a detailed assessment, especially considering the various statutory ambiguities discussed below, as well as the uncertainty surrounding how new and existing regulations will interact, given the current lack of interpretive guidance from the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL).

Unless otherwise stated, all new laws and amendments mentioned here will come into effect on January 1, 2024. Employers should, however, take proactive measures now to ensure they are prepared to comply with these new laws when the new year arrives.

New Disclosure Obligations for Job Postings
In early June, the Illinois Legislature made several amendments to the state’s Equal Pay Act, which Governor Pritzker signed into law on August 11, 2023. These amendments will impose new requirements on Illinois employers starting from January 1, 2025:

  • Employers with 15 or more employees (whether in Illinois or elsewhere) must disclose compensation and benefit information in job postings for positions that will be performed in Illinois or report to an Illinois supervisor, office, or worksite.


  • If compensation and benefit information was not previously disclosed in a job posting, all employers, regardless of size, must provide such information upon an applicant’s request and before discussing compensation with the applicant.


  • All employers, regardless of size, must disclose promotional opportunities for covered positions to current employees within 14 days of posting the opportunity.


  • Employers cannot evade these requirements by outsourcing job postings to third parties. If employers use third parties for advertising job openings, they must share compensation and benefit information with those third parties for inclusion in job postings.

Notably, these amendments do not require employers to use job postings; they only apply when employers choose to advertise job openings through this method. These changes provide a right of action to anyone claiming to be aggrieved by a violation, whether they are prospective employees, current employees, or former employees. The IDOL will enforce these laws and may initiate investigations into violations on its own or upon receiving complaints. Penalties for violations can range from $250 to $10,000, depending on the nature of the violation and the employer’s prior history of violations. Importantly, the law does not establish a private right of action.

New and Expanded Leave Benefits
Illinois law has traditionally provided employees with various forms of paid and unpaid leave. Recent legislation has expanded the reasons for which employees can take leave, including providing paid leave for “any reason.”

Amendments to the Illinois Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA) now permit employees to take leave for “Violent Crime Bereavement,” which includes attending the funeral or wake of a family or household member killed in a violent crime, making arrangements for such a family member, or grieving their loss.

The Child Extended Bereavement Leave Act (CEBL) will require employers with 50 or more full-time employees in Illinois to provide unpaid, job-protected leave to employees who lose a child due to suicide or homicide. The duration of this leave varies based on the employer’s size.

Additionally, the Employee Blood and Organ Donation Leave Act (Donation Act) will replace the existing Employee Blood Donation Leave Act. Starting January 1, 2024, this act will provide eligible employees with up to 10 days of paid leave to donate organs or tissue, in addition to the existing blood donation leave provisions.

The Paid Leave for All Workers Act (PLAW), effective in 2024, will grant eligible employees up to 40 hours of paid leave annually for any reason. Employers should prepare for compliance with PLAW, as it includes various employer obligations.

New Commuter Benefits
Starting January 1, 2024, the Transportation Benefits Program Act (TBPA) will require employers with 50 or more covered employees in Cook County and surrounding townships to offer pre-tax commuter benefits for purchasing public transit passes. Covered employees are those who work full-time for at least 35 hours per week and have completed 120 days of employment.

Extension of Liability to Employers Under the Gender Violence Act (GVA)
Amendments to the GVA will allow victims of gender-related violence to sue employers whose employees or agents commit such violence in the workplace. These amendments expand the definition of “gender-related violence” and establish a four-year statute of limitations for bringing GVA claims against employers.

Expanded Protections for Temporary Workers
Amendments to the Illinois Day and Temporary Labor Services Act (DTLS) provide new rights and protections to day and temporary workers. Notably, the DTLS now mandates comparable pay for temporary workers and requires safety training for both temporary workers and third-party clients.

New Protections for Freelance Workers
The Freelance Worker Protection Act (FWPA), effective July 1, 2024, will grant freelance workers specific rights, including prompt payment for services, written contracts, and protection against discrimination or retaliation.

Further Access to Personnel Records / Electronic Distribution of Employee Notices
Amendments to the Illinois Personnel Record Review Act (PRRA) will require employers to provide employees with copies of their personnel records via email or mail. Additionally, employers will need to distribute mandatory employee notices and summaries electronically for remote employees.

Limitation on Damages Available Against Striking Workers / New Penalties for Interfering with Labor Disputes
Changes to the Illinois Labor Dispute Act (LDA) will restrict the relief available to courts in labor disputes. Courts will be prohibited from awarding monetary damages in most cases. Moreover, interfering with picketing or demonstrations in the public way will be punishable as a Class A misdemeanor.

What Illinois Employers Should Do Now
To prepare for these changes, employers in Illinois should consider the following actions:

  • Review and update leave policies, request forms, and procedures to comply with new legislation.
  • Develop and implement a program for administering pre-tax commuter benefits.
  • Provide anti-harassment training and improve complaint procedures.
  • Review contracts with temporary labor service agencies to ensure compliance with DTLS.
  • Prepare a template freelance worker contract and be ready for timely payments.
  • Train HR personnel on responding to personnel record requests and electronic distribution of notices.
  • Review job posting systems to comply with new disclosure requirements.
  • Stay informed about updates and guidance from the IDOL and other enforcement agencies.

These actions will help employers navigate the evolving employment landscape in Illinois and ensure compliance with the new laws.

U.S. Labor Department proposing rule to boost overtime pay eligibility for salaried workers
The U.S. Department of Labor issued notice last Wednesday of a proposal to increase the threshold for required overtime payments to salaried workers whose weekly or annual wages are considered low income.

If enacted, the proposed rule would guarantee overtime pay for most salaried employees earning less than $1,059 per week, or about $55,000 per year. It also calls for an “escalator” that automatically updates the salary threshold every three years to reflect current earnings data. The Labor Department estimates the rule could apply to about 3.6 million workers nationwide. That possibility has sparked opposition from some employers and business interests over increased operational costs.

Under current federal regulations, so-called “white collar” employees earning at least $684 a week – equivalent to $35,568 annually – are generally exempt from receiving overtime pay. The proposal is aimed at salaried employees, not manual laborers and other blue-collar workers who are typically paid by the hour and entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay regardless of income level.

Generally, employees covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act must receive overtime pay at a minimum of 1-1/2 times their regular pay rate when working more than 40 hours per week. Some states have their own overtime laws. In such instances, an employee is entitled to overtime pay at the higher standard.

Job classifications exempt from federal overtime pay requirements for salaried employees may include executive, administrative, professional, creative, computer, outside sales, and “highly compensated” positions.

The Labor Department’s current exemption threshold was enacted in 2019 during the Trump Administration and took effect in January 2020. It was a reduction from the $47,476 threshold established under the prior Obama Administration. The current rules are no longer appropriate, said Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su, who called them “outdated and out-of-sync.”

“I’ve heard from workers again and again about working long hours, for no extra pay, all while earning low salaries that don’t come anywhere close to compensating them for their sacrifices,” Su said in a news release.

“Today, the Biden-Harris administration is proposing a rule that would help restore workers’ economic security by giving millions more salaried workers the right to overtime protections if they earn less than $55,000 a year,” she said. “Workers deserve to continue to share in the economic prosperity of Bidenomics.”

Marc Freedman, vice president of workplace policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, voiced opposition to the proposed rule. “The Department of Labor’s proposed overtime regulation is the wrong rulemaking at the wrong time,” Freedman said in a statement.

Freedman said the proposal spikes the salary threshold by more than 50% and will increase costs for small businesses, nonprofits, and other employers at a time when businesses already face persistent workforce shortages that are hindering the economy.

“The proposed regulation also includes an automatic escalator clause that lacks statutory authorization and guarantees the salary threshold will become unworkable in just a few short years,” Freedman said. “The U.S. Chamber hopes that DOL heeds the comments and input from employers and makes significant changes in its proposal.”

In contrast, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., issued a statement saying, “Workers should be compensated fairly when they work long hours; it’s that simple.”

“For too long, giant corporations have gone to great lengths to stiff their workers of the overtime wages they deserve, and that needs to end,” said Murray, senior member and former chair of the Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pension. “Democrats and the Biden-Harris administration are fighting back to protect workers by expanding overtime protections … This proposal is a huge step in the right direction and would make a meaningful difference for millions of hardworking people across America,” said Murray, who denounced the threshold reduction under the Trump administration.

Some critics of the rule say the proposed wage-threshold increase does not consider regional economic factors. A $55,000 annual wage might be considered “low” in major metropolitan areas, such as Los Angeles or New York, but relatively high compared to average wages paid in many rural parts of the country.

The Labor Department’s “Notice for Proposed Rulemaking” can be viewed at It will be submitted for posting on the Federal Register, when it will be open to public comment for 60 days.

Governor Pritzker, state leaders call on President Biden to allow Illinois to sponsor work permits for migrants
A coalition of elected officials and business leaders in Illinois is calling on President Joe Biden to ease work restrictions for asylum seekers and other long-term undocumented workers – a move they say is both humane and would help solve ongoing labor shortages.

In the year since Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republican governors began bussing and flying Central and South American migrants to so-called sanctuary cities, Chicago city leaders report they have received more than 13,000 asylum seekers. The vast majority are not legally authorized to work in the U.S., leaving them with little choice but to either wait on already stretched-thin services or find under-the-table work, often for extremely low wages and sometimes in dangerous conditions.

At the same time, employers in Illinois are having trouble filling thousands of jobs across industries like food processing, health care, transportation, and energy. State and business leaders on Wednesday urged the federal Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, to allow Illinois – and other states – to sponsor migrants and other undocumented immigrants in order for them to get work authorization permits.

“The best way for us to manage through this lengthy crisis is to tap into the extraordinary value that immigrants bring to our workforce,” Governor Pritzker said at a Chicago news conference. “We have the jobs. We have the people. We just need authorization from Washington.”

Generally, asylum seekers can’t apply for work permits from DHS until approximately five months after they’ve applied for asylum in the U.S. – a process that itself can take months. But the work permits are temporary, if granted at all, and depend on migrants’ successful navigation of the paperwork DHS requires of applicants.

Instead, Pritzker, along with Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and other elected officials called for DHS to streamline and expand its existing program aimed at allowing refugees “paroled” into the U.S. from countries like Afghanistan, Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela to get slightly faster access to work permits.

Illinois’ Fiscal Year 2024 budget, which began in July, set aside $42.5 million for asylum-seeker services – the latest installment of the $250 million the state and city of Chicago have already pledged to support the migrants in the last year since they began arriving. But Johnson said his city needs more help from the Biden administration, including resources and tweaks to the immigration system.

“Let me state this clearly: The city of Chicago cannot go on welcoming new arrivals safely and capably without significant support and immigration policy changes,” Johnson said. “This change would be a commonsense measure that would provide greater opportunities for new arrivals and immigrants to build their lives here in the state of Illinois.”

Johnson and Pritzker on sent a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas advocating for the state-sponsored work permit solution, following similar letters this summer from Durbin, U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, IL-4, and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. In February, Republican Govs. Eric Holcomb of Indiana and Spencer Cox of Utah floated the idea in a joint op-ed in the Washington Post.

Illinois Manufacturers’ Association President and CEO Mark Denzler, whose organization is often aligned with Republicans in Springfield, said Wednesday he doesn’t view immigration reform as a partisan issue, but rather “an American issue” that needs solving “today.”

“Manufacturers, like retailers and hospitality and hotels and hospitals, are all struggling to find qualified workers, whether engineers or frontline workers, employees of all skill levels who can earn a good wage and benefits,” Denzler said.

Durbin added that he’d just completed a one-month tour of Illinois, where he’d heard from essential businesses like hospitals that were considering cutting services because of workforce shortages.

The push for state-sponsored work permits isn’t limited to asylum seekers. Long-term undocumented workers – some who are eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program – are also included.

Illinois delays copay requirement for noncitizens
Immigration advocates breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday after the Illinois Department of Healthcare & Family Services, or HFS, delayed implementing copays for beneficiaries of the state’s Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults/Seniors (HBIA/HBIS) programs.

In June, HFS announced it would roll back several health care provisions for noncitizens between the ages of 42 and 64 covered by the HBIA program as well as those over 65 who are covered by the HBIS program. Among those concessions, HFS would require copays from enrollees who were not eligible for a federal match. That would mean inpatient visits could cost $250 and an emergency visit could impose a $100 copay.

“Providers should not charge cost-sharing for this population until further notice and any cost-sharing that providers may have already collected must be returned to the customer,” according to an HFS notice issued Tuesday. “HFS will issue a provider notice with implementation guidance when the necessary provider reimbursement programming is in place.”

Health care advocacy group Healthy Illinois applauded the decision by HFS to delay the copayment requirement. “We stand ready to work with HFS to find fiscally responsible ways to make this delay a permanent policy and protect the HBIA and HBIS programs that thousands of immigrants rely on for critically important health care services,” Healthy Illinois Campaign Director Tovia Siegel said in a statement. “We are relieved that HFS and the Pritzker administration are delaying the implementation of copayments for medically necessary health care.”

The group argues that the copayments not only would burden noncitizens but would force those patients to delay preventive care and lead to more emergency room visits.

“Delaying care leads to complications, which in turn lead to hospitalization. Hospitalization costs are much higher than routine preventative visits and medications,” Natalie Raghu, medical director of advanced practice providers at Erie Family Health, said during a public hearing Tuesday. “Illinois constituents will pay more, since the cost of emergency room care for the uninsured can be extremely high and hospitals are still required to provide this emergency care.”

Illinois Secure Choice Webinar: What Small Business Owners Need to Know about the IL State Law

Date & Time: Sept. 13, 2023, 02:00 PM

Description: Illinois state law now requires that every private-sector employer that has been in business for at least 2 years and that had 5 or more Illinois employees last year must offer their own qualified retirement plan or facilitate the Illinois Secure Choice retirement savings program.

In this session, the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office will cover the specifics of the state law and provide an overview of how Illinois Secure Choice works and how easy it is for businesses to facilitate retirement savings for their employees.

This session, led by Christine Cheng and Jaimee Niles, is open to chamber professionals and chamber members.

Christine Cheng serves as Director of Secure Choice for the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office. In her role, she oversees implementation and expansion of Illinois Secure Choice to improve retirement savings access for private-sector workers, helping to ensure that more Illinoisans can retire with dignity.

Jaimee Niles is the Illinois relationship manager for Ascensus, the third-party administrator for the Illinois Secure Choice program. In her role, she is the key point of contact for employers as they learn about and facilitate the Illinois Secure Choice program. Her focus is to both educate and support employers throughout the onboarding and administration process of the program and be a resource to employees who want to better understand their savings opportunities so they can make an informed decision about their participation in the program.

Link to register:

Stay well,

Mike Paone
Executive Vice President
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry
815.727.5371 main
815.727.5373 direct