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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 employment attorneySeveral changes to Illinois laws went into effect on January 1, 2020. This legislation affected many different areas of the criminal justice system, including employment law. Employers are required to follow certain rules and uphold standards in order to maintain a good business standing. Companies are regulated by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which was passed in 1938 to improve workplace conditions. Since that time, there has been a much greater focus on sexual harassment prevention in the workplace. Signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker in 2019, the Workplace Transparency Act (WTA) was enacted at the first of the year and is intended to prevent workplace discrimination and harassment while providing greater protections for Illinois employees. Depending on the circumstances, some employers may need to revise certain policies, training, and reporting as they relate to their employees in order to comply with the WTA.

Details of the WTA

Upon their hiring, employees may be required to sign an employment contract that describes the terms of their employment and requires them to follow company policies. The WTA prohibits any contract or agreement that restricts an employee from reporting unlawful conduct or employment practices or testifying about alleged criminal conduct. In addition, the WTA limits the use of non-disclosure or arbitration clauses that would potentially require an employee to waive or mediate a current or future claim regarding an unlawful employment practice.

The WTA allows for confidentiality provisions in employment agreements with prospective and current employees if they comply with specific requirements. Provisions that would be considered against public policy may be included if the employer and the current or potential employee both agree to these terms in writing, and the agreement reflects “actual, knowing, and bargained-for consideration” from both parties. The agreement must also state that the employee has the right to:

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Schaumburg employment lawyerOwning your own business and being your own boss can be very rewarding, regardless of the field of work. In the United States, there are certain rules and regulations that control how a company should operate, and these guidelines may be different depending on the industry. All companies that operate under the Fair Labor Standards Act are required to keep specific records for a designated period of time for covered, non-exempt employees. Essential documentation may include an employee’s contact information, salary, work hours, and job duties. Record keeping might seem like a basic task, but if it is not done properly, this can lead to significant consequences. An experienced employment law attorney can help a business owner avoid any civil or criminal actions that they could face.

Important Employee Information

For the majority of business owners, their companies are their livelihood. In many cases, the foundation of their success lies in their employees. Therefore, they must make sure to take care of their workers by following standards and procedures that govern their industry. According to the United States Department of Labor, employee payroll information that contains important documents about each employee in your company should be kept for at least three years. Good record keeping practices can help a company maintain a strong reputation, allowing for future growth. Some of the main aspects of employment records should include:

  • The employee’s name, address, and Social Security number
  • The employee’s dates of employment
  • The employee’s regular pay rate (salary or hourly)
  • The amount of wages paid
  • The amount of taxes taken out of an employee’s paycheck
  • The amount of overtime paid
  • The employee’s job duties

Penalties for Negligent Records Management

A comprehensive records management process can help a company operate in an efficient and effective manner. Improper records management can lead to unorganized documentation, the loss of vital information, and stressed employees and employers. If company owners fail to maintain their employment records, they may face criminal charges or civil lawsuits, depending on the circumstances. Poor record keeping can also result in the following consequences:

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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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Illinois employment attorney minimum wageIn the state of Illinois and throughout the United States, there are certain protections that are guaranteed to employees. Illinois has specific laws that apply to most employees regarding wages and payment. In addition, the federal government has laws that offer further protections to employees’ wages and workers’ rights to fairness in the workplace. Though not all employers are required to comply, the vast majority of employers are expected to adhere to these rules. If an employee feels as if they are not being treated fairly in regards to wages, they have the right to file a complaint with the state and/or federal government. This can spell trouble for companies, as they could face serious consequences if they are found to have knowingly violated employment laws. Here are a few Illinois wage laws that all employers should be familiar with to avoid such legal ramifications:

Minimum Wage Law

Both the state of Illinois and the federal government have laws relating to the minimum hourly wage an employee can be paid. While the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, Illinois has set its own minimum wage, which, as of January 1, 2020, is $9.25 for any worker who is at least 18 years old. If an employee is under the age of 18, the minimum wage is $8.00. The Illinois minimum wage will increase to $10.00 per hour on July 1, 2020.

Overtime Pay

Overtime hours and compensation can be a gray area for many employers and employees. Both state and federal laws specify that overtime pay is owed to any employee who works more than 40 hours in one workweek. Overtime pay must be “time-and-a-half” of the employee’s usual hourly rate. For example, if an employee’s normal hourly rate is $10.00 per hour, and they worked overtime, they would be paid $15.00 for every hour over 40 hours that they worked.

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1051 Perimeter Drive, Suite 400
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: (847) 995-1205

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