Blog Archives

New Laws Impacting Illinois Employers in 2016 and Beyond

E. Jason Tremblay

E. Jason Tremblay

While Illinois appears to be in legislative gridlock on a wide variety of political and legislative fronts, it has become abundantly clear that such gridlock has not curtailed the passage of employment and labor-related legislation in Illinois. The following are highlights of seven new laws impacting Illinois employers in 2016 and beyond.

  1. Paid Sick Leave In Chicago and Cook County
    Effective July 1, 2017, employers who have at least one (1) employee in Chicago or Cook County are obligated to provide paid sick leave for those employees who work at least 80 hours within any 120-day period, provided they work at least 2 hours in any 2-week period within Chicago or Cook County. Specifically, covered employers are required to offer 1 hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked, which can be capped at 5 paid sick days each year unless the employer sets a higher limit. Up to 20 hours of accrued but unused sick leave may also be carried over into the next 12-month period. Sick leave can be used for the employee’s own illness or the illness of or medical treatment for the employee’s family member (which is broadly defined
  2. The Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act
    Effective January 1, 2017, Illinois employers that currently provide sick leave benefits to their employees must allow the employees to use their personal sick leave benefits for absences due to the illness, injuries, or medical appointments of their family members. In short, employers cannot limit sick leave to just the employee’s sickness. This law does not require employers (outside the city of Chicago or Cook County) to offer sick leave benefits; however, if they do provide sick leave benefits, employees must be allowed to take such leave for any illnesses or other sickness-related matters of their family members. “Family members” are defined broadly under the Act and include immediate family, parents-in-law, grandchildren, grandparents, or step parents.
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Early Holiday Present For Employers – Overtime Regulations Stayed

E. Jason Tremblay

E. Jason Tremblay

In a last minute blow to the Obama Administration’s labor and employment legacy, a federal district court in Texas granted an emergency motion for preliminary injunction yesterday barring the Department of Labor from enforcing its revised overtime rules, scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2016. See decision here.

The final regulations were poised to double the salary level for employees deemed to be exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act pursuant to the Department of Labor’s “white collar” exemptions.

Though I am in the midst of traveling with my family for the Thanksgiving holiday, the court’s sudden decision urges me to provide some swift thoughts and suggestions.

First, it appears that this injunction is nationwide and therefore would apply to all employers throughout the country.

Second, it is uncertain how long this injunction will stay in place. It may become permanent, but the regulations are now only temporarily stayed meaning the regulations will NOT become effective, as originally scheduled, on December 1st.

Third, for those employers who have already communicated salary and compensation changes in anticipation of the update, you can either still go through with the salary and compensation changes despite the ruling or, alternatively, delay or cancel the changes. If you decide to delay or cancel the changes, you will want to communicate something in writing to the affected employees (and soon) explaining the sudden change.

For those companies who have already changed compensation in anticipation of the updated regulations, it will be much more difficult to roll back the salary and compensation changes without causing a mutiny in the workforce. In that case, a business decision will need to be made as to whether it is worth rolling back the changes after compensation plans have already been made and implemented.

This is a lot to chew on days before the planned effective date for the updated regulations, but is likely welcome news for many employers as well. We will keep you advised of developments in this area.

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding this significant development, of if you need assistance evaluating how this development impacts your company, please do not hesitate to contact me at 312-876-6676.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The post Early Holiday Present For Employers – Overtime Regulations Stayed appeared first on General Counselor.

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New Form I-9 Goes Into Effect On January 21, 2017

E. Jason Tremblay

E. Jason Tremblay

A revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9, which is required to be filled out for every new employee, was recently issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The new version is here. Among other changes to the form, Section 1 now asks to provide “other last names used” and streamlines the certification for certain foreign nationals.

The current version of the Form I-9 will continue to be valid until January 21, 2017. After this date, employers will be required to use the new form.

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USCIS Policy for EB-5 Redeployment and “At-Risk” Issues Discussed at IIUSA Conference

Arnstein & Lehr Attorney Ronald Fieldstone

Ronald R. Fieldstone

At the October 2016 IIUSA Conference, I was on a distinguished panel of practitioners discussing the topic of redeployment issues. The panel focused on the current USCIS Guidelines that sets forth the concept of “at risk,” which is pursuant to the draft policy statement issued on August 10, 2015 and was discussed at both the August 13, 2015 and July 28, 2016 USCIS Stakeholder’s meetings.

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Cook County Approves Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Kellie Y. Chen

Kellie Y. Chen

On October 5, the Cook County Board of Commissioners approved the Cook County Employer Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (the “Ordinance”) requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees, to take effect on July 1, 2017. This Ordinance follows in the wake of the City of Chicago approving a similar paid sick leave ordinance in late June that is also to come into effect in July of 2017, as addressed in E. Jason Tremblay’s June 29 blog post, “Paid Sick Leave is Coming to Chicago.”

Paid Sick Leave Under the Ordinance

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The Miller Act Trap: How to Protect Your Rights

Patrick Johnsonby Patrick J. Johnson

The Miller Act 40 U.S.C. § 3131 – § 3134, requires that any contractor performing construction on a federal building or public work over $100,000 furnish bonds guaranteeing payment to subcontractors and completion of the project. Under the Act the party having a contractual relationship with a subcontractor but no contractual relationship with the contractor furnishing the payment bond may bring an action on the payment bond following written notice within 90 days from the last date on which the party last supplied labor or materials for which the claim is made 40 U.S.C. § 3133(b)(2).

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China Premier Li Keqiang discusses trade and economic issues in NY

Arnstein & Lehr Attorney Ronald Fieldstone

Ronald R. Fieldstone

I had the privilege of attending the New York Economic Club Dinner on September 20, 2016, for Premier Li Keqiang of the People’s Republic of China. The Premier held this position since March of 2013 and has been very active in the Chinese government since the 1990s. He was extremely engaging and articulate in his speech and responsive to the questions posed to him.

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Illinois Prohibits Non-Competition Agreements for Low-Wage Employees

E. Jason Tremblay

E. Jason Tremblay

Governor Bruce Rauner recently signed into law the Illinois Freedom to Work Act (the Act), which will prohibit private sector employers from entering into non-compete agreements with low-wage employees. The Act defines low-wage employees as those who earn the greater of: (a) the Federal ($7.25 per hour), State ($8.25 per hour), or local (currently, $10.50 per hour under the Chicago Minimum Wage Ordinance) minimum wage; or (b) $13.00 per hour.

A covenant not to compete entered into between an employer and a low-wage employee is considered illegal and void under the Act. The Act defines a prohibited “covenant not to compete” as an agreement that would prohibit a low-wage employee from: (a) working for another employer for a specified period of time; (b) working in a specified geographic area; or (c) engaging in similar work for another employer.

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West Palm Partners Co-Author Daily Business Review Column on Downtown Condo Projects

Joshua M. AtlasSteveDanielsby Steven L. Daniels and Joshua M. Atlas

This was published as a column called, “Downtown West Palm Condos Compete With New Luxury Units,” on August 11, 2016, in the Daily Business Review. 

Now that the Great Recession has been officially over for several years, many new residential projects are either under construction or on the drawing boards throughout Palm Beach County, particularly in and around downtown West Palm Beach.

As a result of these new projects coming online in the immediate and not too distant future, existing condominiums are facing a different problem than they faced 10 years ago: stiffer competition from their newer and more modern neighbors for buyers. The new challenge is demanding condo associations to take a proactive approach to mitigate the impact of new luxury condos being delivered in a relatively small market. Not taking action is not an option if condo owners want to protect and grow the value of their condos by remaining competitive in the market.

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U.S. Department of Labor Weighs in on “Joint Employer” Standard

E. Jason Tremblay

E. Jason Tremblay

On January 20, 2016, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued an Administrative Interpretation setting forth guidance for when businesses will be deemed “joint employers” under the Fair Labor Standards Act. A copy of DOL’s Administrative Interpretation No. 2016-1 (the “Interpretation”) is attached here for your reference.

The Interpretation makes abundantly clear to businesses that share employees or use contractors or temporary staffing agencies that they may be deemed “joint employers” and become legally responsible for any wage and hour violations committed by the other joint business. The Interpretation goes on to explain two types of joint employment scenarios – “horizontal” joint employment and “vertical” joint employment. 

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