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Schaumburg Employment Law AttorneyIn June, the Chicago City Council voted yes to a new ordinance that addresses sick leave and wage theft protections for people who work in the city. This new ordinance is in addition to another new ordinance our firm discussed in a prior post regarding the minimum wage change Chicago enacted and the potential penalties for violations.

New Law

The ordinance, SO2021-2182, applies to any business that employs four or more employees. If the employee is a domestic worker, then the law applies to businesses with one or more employees. The new ordinance is for any employee who works two or more hours within the city limits of Chicago during any two-week period. 

Under the new ordinance, which went into effect July 1, employees can use their paid sick leave for the following reasons:

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Schaumburg Employment Law AttorneyWhen the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, many employers were forced to quickly adapt to a new way of conducting business. For many businesses, this meant allowing employees to work from home. Employers had to find ways to ensure that remote workers were still meeting the requirements expected of them while employees had to find ways to juggle emails, online discussion boards, and video conferences from their living rooms. While switching to remote work was a major adjustment for many people, employers and employees are starting to recognize the benefits of work-from-home opportunities.  If you are one of the many employers who intend to continue remote work indefinitely, make sure you understand the employment law implications you may face.

Avoiding Discrimination in Work-From-Home Opportunities

Understandably, an employee’s ability to effectively conduct work duties remotely depends largely on the employee’s type of work. Some jobs are simply not suited for remote work. If some of your workers are allowed to work from home and others are not, make sure that there are documented, legitimate reasons for the differences in opportunities. Failure to do so can lead to accusations of discrimination.

Accurate Timekeeping is Crucial

Another concern employers utilizing remote workers must be aware of is timekeeping. Nonexempt employees should keep detailed records of their work hours. These hours should be regularly updated in the company’s timekeeping system. Do not let employees fall into the habit of failing to report work hours. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to keep track of nonexempt employees’ work hours. Lax recordkeeping can lead to lawsuits and an employer being forced to reimburse the employee for back pay and other damages. Employers must also ensure that employees understand company policies regarding vacation time, sick days, and meal breaks. 

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Schaumburg employment lawyer

Originally Published: 21 July 2020 -- Updated: July 7, 2021

On July 1, 2021, the minimum wage in Chicago became $15-an-hour. For servers and other workers who receive tips, the minimum wage is $9-an-hour. In Cook County, the minimum wage is $13-an-hour for regular employees and $6.60 for workers who receive tips. The state minimum wage in Illinois is currently $11-an-hour with a $1 increase scheduled to take effect January 1 of next year. By 2025, workers in Illinois are all set to receive $15-an-hour.

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Schaumburg IL employer defense attorneyAs an employer, you may assume that what your employees do off the clock is none of your business. While this is true to a certain degree, your employees are an extension of your business. Consequently, the actions that your employees take online can reflect on your company. This is especially true when employees post information about business matters on social media. A clear, understandable social media policy is crucial to protecting your company’s reputation and preventing sensitive company information from being shared online.

Protecting Proprietary and Confidential Information

Employees often have access to confidential information like customer contacts, employee personnel files, proprietary business practices, trade secrets, and sensitive financial information. One of the key concerns regarding social media is that employees will intentionally or unintentionally share confidential information online. Your social media policy should address what information is confidential and explain clearly that this information may not be posted online. Remind employees that social media messages, posts, and pictures may still be accessible by others even if their account is set to “private.” In some cases, a social media policy alone is insufficient. You may also need to use a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement to ensure that sensitive information is not leaked online.

Protecting Your Company’s Brand and Reputation

Anything your employees do or say online can reflect on your business. Whether they are complaining about a rude customer, commenting on their work uniform, or sharing a picture from inside the facility, word travels fast online. Something that an employee shares can quickly go “viral.” Your company’s brand can be irrevocably damaged in a matter of days or even hours. Even if the employee deletes the post, screenshots or archived versions of the website may still exist online.

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Schaumburg employment lawyerConcerns over the spread of COVID caused many employers to transition to remote work. Although many workplaces are returning to a sense of normalcy, some employers are choosing to continue remote work. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Spotify have officially decided to extend work-from-home opportunities past the pandemic. Many small businesses are following suit. If you are an employer with remote workers, it is essential that you understand the possible legal implications of remote work. Issues like worker classification and overtime pay may be especially complicated when workers are working remotely. 

Misclassifying Employees as Independent Contractors

Traditionally, most work-from-home positions were independent contractor positions. Now, more and more employees are working from home. In many businesses, employers’ needs are met by a combination of independent contractors and employees. If you choose to utilize independent contractors in your business, you must ensure that these workers meet the criteria necessary for contractor classification. Contractors must:

  • Work outside of your direct control

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Phone: (847) 995-1205

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