The Chicago Employment Law Blog

Wages & Benefits in Chicago

All employees in Illinois have legal rights involving wages and employment benefits, which include a minimum wage, overtime pay, employee health insurance, retirement plans, and tipping for certain service sector employees. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in particular establishes minimum wages, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers.

If you need advice on an employment law issue, including advice on wages or benefits, you should speak with a Chicago employment lawyer.

Recently in Wages & Benefits Category

Do Chicago Employers Have to Provide Sick Leave?

This year's flu season was particularly rough. Chicago's public health department reported 154 flu-related intensive care unit hospitalizations between the end of September 2013 and early February, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Though spring is fast approaching, people are still coming down with the flu, requiring them to take time off from work to recover.

But are employers legally required to provide paid sick leave?

What Wage Records Do Employers Need to Keep?

Employers who fall under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are required to maintain certain records regarding the hours worked and wages earned by their employees. Failure to comply with these FLSA recordkeeping requirements could lead to penalties for employers.

For the most part, you may already keep these records as part of your ordinary business practice. These records may be enough to fulfill FLSA recordkeeping requirements, as the government does not mandate a specific form for the records.

The only requirement besides maintaining the information is that the records be accurate, according to the Department of Labor.

7 Things to Know About Illinois' Minimum Wage/Overtime Law

There is a lot of confusion about Illinois' minimum wage and overtime laws.

If you talk to your friends, you may hear one thing. If you talk to the guy in the next cubicle, you may hear another.

To clear up the confusion, here are seven things you should know, as provided by the Illinois Department of Labor:

Ho Ho No!?! Workplace Holiday Parties Without the Lawsuits

Ho Ho Ho? Stop with the holiday cheer! There will be no St. Nick here, mister! This isn't the Grinch talking, but a lawyer, worried about your exposure to lawsuits. Sure, company parties can be a lot of fun, but they can also put you at risk for sexual harassment, wage and overtime, and discrimination lawsuits.

If you feel that employee morale is best served by having a holiday party, and you're willing to assume the risks associated with holiday parties, here are a few tips to minimize exposure:

Reprieve for Local Hostess Workers? Judge Orders Mediation

Just when you thought they were out, the judge pulled them back in! Late last week, Hostess Brands, Inc. declared its intention to shutter its factories and sell off its assets after negotiations with the union failed and a strike "crippled" the company. The announcement set off a panic for Twinkie-lovers and heartache for hundreds of local workers, who were set to be laid off from their jobs with the struggling snack maker.

Two days after the doors to the factory were closed, and every retailer in America sold out of Twinkies, HoHos, and Ding Dongs, hope emerged in the form of ordered mediation, reports Reuters. Judge Robert Drain, who is overseeing the bankruptcy proceedings, questioned why the mediation had not yet occurred and asked the parties whether it might help.

Preparing for Obamacare: Mandates, Penalties, and Exchanges

Like it or not, President Obama will remain in office for another four years. A more cynical individual might proclaim, "Republican, Democrat, Obama, Romney, it makes no difference. They're all crooks." Where it will make a difference, however, is in regards to the Affordable Care Act.

Governor Romney declared his intention to repeal most of the Obamacare legislation if he was elected. He lost. This means employers and employees need to prepare for the massive changes to healthcare coverage that will begin in 2014.

Walmart Faces More Labor Unrest, Lawsuits

Walmart will once again find itself in court over labor violation accusations, reports CBS Chicago. This time, the violations involve alleged mistreatment of temporary workers in the Chicago area. The lawsuit claims that Walmart, and two temporary staffing companies, violated federal minimum wage and overtime laws by forcing workers to arrive early, stay late, and work through breaks with no extra compensation.

There are also allegations that Walmart failed to maintain accurate records of the hours worked by the employees and failed to pay workers for a minimum of four hours when they were called in but were not utilized for four hours. Illinois law requires that workers be paid for a minimum of four hours.

CTU, CPS, Head to Court Over Closed Pension 'Loophole'

Something miraculous happened in Illinois this year. A bipartisan effort to cut spending and close a pension loophole passed! Members of opposing political parties worked together to cut spending and address the pension crisis that threatens to cripple the budgets of CPS, Chicago, and even the state itself.

The loophole-closing law addressed the issue of double-dipping and six-figure pensions that were awarded to CPS workers that took leave from the district in order to work for the Chicago Teachers' Union. The law affected both union leaders and lower-level union employees, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Time Off for Voting: Do You Get Paid Leave?

Are you working a 12-hour shift? If not, then you probably don’t get paid time off for voting.

There are two ways to get time off for voting. The first is simply having an accommodating boss. The second is by Illinois’ state law, which provides a limited set of circumstances in which an employee is entitled to paid time off.

Myth Busted: Are Salaried Workers Entitled to Overtime Pay?

Many are familiar with the common abuse of the salaried employee” He works a ninety-hour week while making $40,000 per year. Because he does not log his hours, it is assumed that he is not entitled to overtime pay and is therefore without recourse when the boss forces him to work double the hours of the ordinary forty-hour week.

The assumption, it seems, was wrong. Kinda.