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Schaumburg minimum wage violations lawyerLaws are established for various reasons, mainly to keep citizens safe and provide for a fair society. The state of Illinois has several new laws taking effect in 2021, one of which affects employers and their employees. The minimum wage will increase to $11 per hour for standard workers; $6.60 per hour for tipped workers, and $8.50 per hour for workers under the age of 18 who work less than 650 hours in a calendar year. This new legislation is part of a staggered plan that will eventually raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. However, many retailers have expressed concern that they cannot afford this new hourly rate after struggling to stay open during the pandemic. Whether you own a small start-up or a well-established company, it is important to understand the legal consequences for hourly wage violations in Illinois.

A Gradual Increase

Although the wage rate increase for 2021 is meant to assist the entire Illinois workforce, it will gradually increase depending on what part of the state you live in. On July 1, 2021, the minimum wage in Chicago will increase to $15 per hour, or $14.50 per hour for employees at companies with 20 or fewer employees. The minimum wage for tipped workers will increase to $9.00 per hour, and employers are required to make up the difference if the base wage plus tips does not equal $15.00 per hour.

Penalties for Wage Violations

All employers have an obligation to know the minimum wage laws and are required to post the Fair Labor Standards Act provisions in a place where workers can easily read them. If a company pays a worker less than what is mandated by federal minimum wage laws, or neglects to adhere to overtime pay guidelines, the employer may be required to go to court and face maximum penalties. The Wage Payment and Collection Act issued by the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) designates when, where, and how often wages are to be paid and prohibits deductions from wages or compensation without a worker’s consent. It is important to note that federal and state government employees are considered exempt and therefore cannot file claims under the Act.

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Cook County employment lawyerA typical workweek for employees in the United States consists of 40 hours. However, many workers actually spend more time performing their jobs. For jobs that are paid on an hourly basis, anything over 40 hours is usually considered overtime. Although many salaried (exempt) workers work 50-60 hours a week, they may not be eligible for overtime pay depending on their company or employment contract. The Illinois Overtime law (called the Illinois Minimum Wage Law) mirrors the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in many ways. Similar to the FLSA, the Illinois overtime law requires that non-exempt employees receive overtime pay equal to 1.5 times their regular hourly pay for any hours worked over 40 in a week. With so many employees working remotely now in response to the COVID-19 health crisis, it may be difficult to track employees’ hours regarding overtime if they are working from home.

Keeping Track of Hours Online

Since remote employees are generally entitled to the same legal protections that on-site workers have, working remotely can present unique challenges that should be addressed to ensure a company is legally compliant. Employers have certain obligations regarding employees’ hours and wages for overtime pay. As a business owner, accurate record-keeping is imperative. Detailed reporting ensures that management and workers are following proper procedures and company policies.

Businesses throughout the country, including Illinois companies, have implemented remote-work arrangements for their employees due to the coronavirus outbreak. In many cases, this is the first time a company may have allowed its employees to work from home. Essential businesses have remained open during the pandemic, such as banks, grocery stores, and hospitals. Non-essential businesses were temporarily closed, including service industries like hair and nail salons, gyms, and fitness centers. These companies had to pause operations since those workers cannot do their jobs from home. On the other hand, office workers in the business field who do the majority of their work on a computer can perform their duties remotely as long as they have a computer and an Internet connection.

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Illinois-employment-lawyer-minCOVID-19, or coronavirus 2019, is a respiratory illness that can spread from animal to person or person to person. The virus was first identified during an outbreak in Wuhan, China. Currently, health officials are working on a vaccine for it, but that may take up to a year before it is approved. There is no doubt the virus has had a significant impact on people’s lives since it was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Here in Illinois, Governor Pritzker said he is filing emergency rules that will allow those who cannot work because they are sick with coronavirus to collect unemployment insurance benefits to the full extent permitted by federal law. This would mean employers are required to pay workers who go on sick leave due to coronavirus.

What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19?

It is imperative that a person who thinks they may have coronavirus seek medical attention to avoid life-threatening complications and reduce the spread of it. President Trump recently announced that he was halting air travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days. In addition, he advised citizens to stay away from large gatherings in an effort to contain the virus and avoid further cases of it.

The following upper respiratory symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

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Schaumburg, IL employment law lawyerTrying to balance work and family life can be a challenge for anyone, but when an employee’s family member is sick or there is a birth in the family, it can be even more daunting. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was created to mitigate some of the stresses that come with certain life circumstances. There are caveats to the FMLA, however. For example, in the private sector, the FMLA only applies to employers who have 50 or more employees. Employees must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours for that employee to be covered by the FMLA. Only specific scenarios are covered by the FMLA, and as an employer, it is important you are aware of these situations.

Birth of a Child

When an employee has a child, he or she is eligible to take leave to bond with and care for that child, no matter if the worker is the mother or the father. However, the employee must take his or her leave within 12 months after the child is born. This type of leave must be taken as a block of time (consecutive days or months) unless you as the employer agree to intermittent leave.

Placement of a Child for Adoption or Foster Care

An employee who takes leave to care for or bond with an adopted or foster child may do so before the placement occurs if the leave is necessary for the placement to proceed. This can include the employee attending counseling sessions, appearing in court, traveling to another country to complete an adoption, or consulting with his or her attorney. This type of leave also expires 12 months after the placement of the child.

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Schaumburg, IL employer defense attorneyIn the United States, several measures have been put in place in an effort to prevent discrimination of any kind in the workplace. Workplace discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee or prospective employee in a prejudicial manner because of his or her race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or other factors. These prejudices can affect hiring, firing, promotions, salary, benefits, job training, or assignments. If any employee feels like he or she has been discriminated against, he or she has the right to file a complaint and/or a lawsuit against the company, which can result in negative consequences toward the employer.

Types of Discrimination

There are many different aspects that can serve as a basis for discrimination, which is prohibited by law. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), workplace discrimination can be based on:

  • Age: Federal law and Illinois state law prohibit employers from treating employees less favorably because of their age. This law applies to employees who are age 40 or older.

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