The State of Illinois enforces a number of wage and hour laws as well as other laws that protect your employment rights. If your employer is not properly and legally scheduling you and paying you, arrange at once to discuss your rights with a Deerfield employment rights attorney.
In May 2022, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 3146 into law. It amends the state’s One Day Rest In Seven Act (ODRISA). What does ODRISA provide? How does Senate Bill 3146 change ODRISA? How does this law affect you, your employer, and your work schedule?
You will learn the answers to these questions if you keep reading this brief discussion of Illinois employment laws and your rights. You will also learn what a Deerfield employment rights lawyer will do on your behalf if your rights under ODRISA are violated by your employer.
How Does the Law Protect Workers in Illinois
Employees in Illinois have specific rights under federal law. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 establishes every employee’s hour, wage, and overtime rights. Illinois also has a number of state laws that, in some cases, extend even more legal protection to workers than federal laws.
Illinois employment laws, for example, spell out pregnancy accommodation rights and require a higher minimum wage than the federal minimum wage. ODRISA was originally adopted to ensure that employees have meal breaks and at least one day off in every calendar week.
The amendments to ODRISA that will take effect in 2023 reduce the period of time in which employees are entitled to a day of rest. Senate Bill 3146 also adds an additional meal break requirement, and it increases the penalties for employers who violate an employee’s rights.
What Are the Changes to ODRISA?
When it takes effect in January 2023, Senate Bill 3146 will make a number of changes to ODRISA. Currently, the law requires an Illinois employer to schedule non-exempt employees for at least one day off every “calendar week,” meaning Sundays through Saturdays.
However, this means that an employee could conceivably be scheduled by an employer to work twelve consecutive days by having Sunday as a day of rest one week and working straight through until having Saturday as a day of rest the next week.
Senate Bill 3146 changes this. It establishes that non-exempt employees in Illinois must have at least one day of rest in each successive seven-day time period, no matter where those days are on a calendar week. The amendment also makes a number of other important changes to ODRISA.
What Else Does Senate Bill 3146 Change?
The amendment to ODRISA also establishes new requirements for employees’ meal breaks. Currently, employees have the right to an unpaid twenty-minute meal break for each 7.5 hours of work, and that break must be provided in the first five hours of a 7.5 hour work period.
Senate Bill 3146 changes that. Beginning in 2023, after working 7.5 hours, employees in Illinois will be entitled to another unpaid twenty-minute meal break for every additional 4.5 hours of work.
In practical terms, this means that employees who perform twelve-hour shifts will be provided with two twenty-minute meal breaks. Currently under the law, an employee must work for fifteen hours before he or she is entitled to a second twenty-minute break.
How Will ODRISA Violations Be Penalized?
Currently, employer violations of ODRISA are deemed “petty” offenses that may be penalized with a $100 fine. Senate Bill 3146 makes employer violations of ODRISA “civil” offenses with heightened penalties beginning in 2023.
Employer violations of ODRISA will be penalized starting in 2023 with a fine of up to $250 for employers who have fewer than twenty-five employees and a fine of up to $500 for larger employers.
Illinois employers may also be ordered to compensate employees whose ODRISA rights have been violated – up to $250 in damages for employers who have fewer than twenty-five employees and up to $500 in damages for larger employers.
What Other Changes Will Be Made to ODRISA?
Finally, Senate Bill 3146 requires employers in Illinois to post a notice prepared by the Illinois Department of Labor (DOL) which summarizes ODRISA requirements and tells employees how to submit a complaint to the Illinois DOL.
Employees who work remotely must receive this notice of ODRISA requirements by email or through a notification on the employer’s website. An Illinois employer who fails to post this notice of ODRISA requirements may be fined up to $250.
Are Your Employment Rights Being Violated?
Despite state and federal laws and aggressive enforcement efforts, a few shady employers still operate in Illinois and use a variety of schemes to deny employees their wages and their rights. An employer may:
- change your timesheet or ask you to work off the clock
- ask you to work too many days in a row without a day of rest
- fail to provide meal breaks – or deduct those hours even if you worked through breaks
- pay you straight time for overtime hours
All of these actions clearly indicate that an employer is trying to cheat you – and that you need to speak with a Deerfield employment rights lawyer.
When Should You Contact an Employment Rights Attorney?
If you are not being properly paid or properly scheduled, or if any of your employment rights are being violated by your employer in or near the Deerfield area, it is important to discuss your case and your rights as quickly as possible with a Deerfield employment rights attorney.
Employees in Illinois enjoy extensive rights, and most employers strive to comply with employment laws. However, employees and employers should both know that if an employee’s rights are violated, the courts in Illinois are serious about upholding and enforcing those rights.
What Will Your Employment Rights Attorney Do on Your Behalf?
Employer-employee disputes can often be resolved through mediation or arbitration without taking the dispute to court. However, your Illinois employment rights attorney will take whatever legal steps are necessary to protect your employment rights and win justice on your behalf.
If your claim against your employer goes to trial, and if you and your attorney can prove that an employer violated your rights, the court may order the employer to compensate you for your lost wages, your legal fees, and your other related losses and damages.
You cannot let an employer violate your rights. It does not happen often in Illinois, but if you become the employee whose rights are violated, compile any documents or other evidence that proves your claim, and contact an Illinois employment rights lawyer immediately.