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Schaumburg employment law attorney for independent contractorsDepending on the industry or field of work, companies may hire employees or independent contractors (often called freelancers) or even a combination of both. Although either type of worker may perform similar job duties, it is important to understand the distinction between them as an employer. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) considers several factors to determine whether a worker is designated as an employee or an independent contractor. Some of the main differences between these types of workers include how they are paid, taxes, and insurance benefits. Every business is unique, and what works for one company may not work for another. If you are an Illinois business owner, it is imperative that you understand the laws and how they relate to your employees. In some situations, utilizing independent contractors may benefit your business in the long run.

Cost Savings

One of the major benefits of using independent contractors versus salaried employees is the cost savings. As a business owner, when you hire a worker who is classified as an employee, you have to pay additional expenses that you would not pay for an independent contractor. These costs include the following:

  • Medical/dental/vision insurance
  • Equipment/supplies/office space
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Social Security and Medicare taxes
  • Unemployment compensation insurance

Staffing Flexibility

In some cases, a company may only need workers for certain periods of time throughout the year. During these “busy times,” an employer can hire personnel based on fluctuating workloads. This alleviates having regular employees sitting around doing nothing during the “slow times.” In addition, independent contractors or freelancers may possess special skills or knowledge related to a project, reducing the time spent training newly hired employees. Using freelancers can also help you avoid potential lawsuits that can accompany layoffs or firings, since it is considered “contracted” or temporary work.

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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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Illinois minimum wage violation lawyerFor many young Americans, working at a part-time job is an important milestone of growing up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 20.9 million 16- to 24-year-olds who were employed in July 2018. These youths are working at jobs that range from retail to the food industry, most of which are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Among other things, the FLSA established a minimum wage rule which states that employers may not pay employees less than the current federal minimum wage. In 1996, the FLSA was amended to allow employers to pay employed youths less than the normal minimum wage, but when doing so, employers must follow certain rules.

Federal Minimum Wage Laws

The FLSA states that no employer is permitted to pay its employees less than $7.25 per hour, except if that employee is considered to be a “youth.” According to the FLSA, an employer may pay a person who is under the age of 20 a lower wage for a specific, yet limited period of time. An employer may pay a minimum wage of $4.25 per hour for the first 90 consecutive calendar days of that youth’s employment. After 90 days, the employer is required to pay the youth the same minimum wage as everyone else, $7.25 per hour, unless a state or local law states otherwise.

Illinois Minimum Wage Laws

In the state of Illinois, the minimum wage is currently $8.25 for workers who are over the age of 18. Workers who are under the age of 18 are permitted to be paid $0.50 less than the minimum wage, meaning they can be paid $7.75 per hour. Illinois youth minimum wage has no time limit, so youths may be paid $0.50 less until they reach the age of 18. Since the Illinois youth minimum wage is higher than the federal youth minimum wage, Illinois employers must follow Illinois law.

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Illinois Employment LawyerBeing a business owner can be extremely rewarding and stressful at the same time. You have the benefit of knowing you are running a successful company, but with owning a business comes numerous responsibilities. One of the things you must pay attention to when you own a business is how you keep records, specifically, your employees' records. There are numerous laws and regulations you must follow when you own a business, and there are laws about employee recordkeeping. It is important you comply with these regulations so you do not find yourself in trouble with the government.

Maintaining Personnel Files

A personnel file is one maintained for every employee’s personal information. Items that should be kept and updated in a personnel file include:

  • Employee’s name and personal information;
  • Job applications;
  • Resumes;
  • Employment offers;
  • Emergency contact forms;
  • Documents related to job performance;
  • Any warnings and formal discipline; and
  • Separate documents like exit interviews and resignation letters.

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states all employee personnel records must be kept for one year after the employee quits or is terminated.

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