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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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Schaumburg, IL FLSA litigation attorneyToday, there are more mothers in the workforce than ever before. According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, approximately 70 percent of all mothers with children under the age of 18 participated in the workforce in 2013, compared with only 47 percent in 1975. Typically, the older the children are, the more likely the mother is to have a job, because taking care of a young child is much more involved than taking care of a school-aged child. One of the issues that working mothers of young children face is breastfeeding. Prior to 2010, working mothers who nursed their children did not have many (if any) protections for expressing their breast milk during work hours. Now, employers must follow certain rules set by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) concerning nursing mothers in the workplace.

FLSA Requirements for Nursing Mothers in the Workplace

According to the amended Section 7 of the FLSA, employers are required to give breastfeeding mothers “reasonable break time” to allow them to express breast milk for a nursing child. The Act states that employers must do this for at least one year after the child is born, and the mother is entitled to this break period each time she needs to express milk. The Act also states that employers are required to provide a private place other than a bathroom for the mother to express her breast milk.

Who Is Covered?

Only those employers who have 50 or more employees are required to comply with this law, unless the company can prove that it would cause undue hardship. Also, only women who are considered to be “non-exempt” are covered. Typically, this means that women who are salaried workers who make at least $455 per week and who are employed in certain supervisory positions are not covered by this nursing law.

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Illinois employment lawyerAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently an estimated 16.6 million retail workers over the age of 16 in the United States. Jobs in the retail industry are popular among younger Americans such as high school and college students because of the flexible hours and minimum education requirements. Retail establishments can include gas stations, restaurants, department stores, and much more. Retail employees are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as long as the establishment has an annual sales volume of at least $500,000, or if employees are engaged in interstate commerce activities.

As an employer, it is important that you avoid FLSA violations to achieve full compliance.

Hours Worked Violations

Employers are required by law to pay for all hours worked by employees. Sometimes retail establishments will only allow workers to be “on the clock” if there is a need for them. If they are scheduled to work, but there is no demand for more staff, the employee will often be told they are not needed. Unless an employer immediately informs an employee of this, fully relieves them of duty, and gives them a specific time to check in, the time between their scheduled shift and the check-in time does not have to be counted as work time. If the employee is not given a specific time that is long enough to use for their own benefit, all of the waiting time should be counted as hours worked.

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