Labor Compliance Guide

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

No Employer shall employ any of his employees for a workweek of more than 40 hours unless such employee receives compensation for his employment in excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than 1 1/2 times the regular rate at which he is employed. Any employer may employ any employee for a period or periods of not more than 10 hours in the aggregate in any workweek in excess of the maximum hours specified without paying the compensation for overtime employment.


It is adjustable only if the change is designed to be permanent. Each week is considered on its own for purposes of calculating overtime. The hours of two or more weeks may not be averaged. Under state law, employers must pay for travel time performed by employees for the benefit of their employers, such as responding to an emergency call back to work outside normal work hours.


Employers must pay employees covered by Illinois’ overtime law 1.5 times their regular rates for hours worked in excess of 40 per week.


Every employer shall allow every employee at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in every calendar week in addition to the regular period of rest allowed at the close of each working day.


Chicago, Illinois – Right to Rest 

Effective July 1st, 2018, an Employee has the right to decline work hours that occur during the 11 hours following the end of a shift. An employee who agrees in writing to work hours described shall be compensated 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay for any hours worked less than 11 hours following the end of a previous shift.


Breast Feeding Break

An employer must provide reasonable daily unpaid break time for an employee to express breast milk unless doing so would unduly disrupt the employer’s business. If possible, such break time must run concurrently with the employee’s ordinary break time. Employers must make reasonable efforts to provide employees with a private space close to their work area, other than a toilet stall, where they can express milk.

Annual Leave

Annual leave is based on an agreement between employee and employer.


Under the Minimum Wage Law and the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, an employer is obligated to pay an employee for all time worked. For both salaried and hourly employees, if a portion of the week is not completed, the entire salary amount is not due. However, the employee may enter into an agreement with their employer to use some kind of benefit time for those days not worked.

Minimum Wage

The state minimum wage is $8.25 an hour. Before July 1, 2010, the minimum wage was $8.00 an hour.


Employers may pay a sub-minimum training wage that is 50 cents less than the adult minimum wage ($7.75) to non-tipped employees age 18 or older for the first 90 consecutive days of employment. Those employees under the age of 18 may be paid at the rate of $7.75 an hour. However, at no time may the wages of a worker under age 18 be more than 50 cents less than the adult minimum wage. Employers may obtain a license to employ learners for less than the minimum wage.

Tips & Gratuities

Employees receiving at least $20 a month in tips must be paid at least 60 percent ($4.95) of the minimum wage, and an employer may take a tip credit not to exceed 40 percent ($3.30) of the tipped employee’s wages. If an employee’s tips combined with the wages from the employer do not equal the minimum wage (in 2015, $8.25), the employer must make up the difference.

Meal Breaks

Every employer shall permit its employees who are to work for 7 1/2 continuous hours or longer, at least 20 minutes for a meal period beginning no later than 5 hours after the start of the work period.


This does not apply to employees for whom meal periods are established through the collective bargaining process. This does not apply to employees who monitor individuals with developmental disabilities or mental illness, or both, and who, in the course of those duties, are required to be on call during an entire 8 hour work period; however, those employees shall be allowed to eat a meal during the 8 hour work period while continuing to monitor those individuals.


Minors younger than age 16 must be permitted a meal period of at least 30 minutes for each period of five continuous hours of work. A meal period of less than 30 minutes does not constitute a break in a continuous period of work.

Special Leave

Sick Leave

An employee may use personal sick leave benefits provided by the employer for absences due to an illness, injury, or medical appointment of the employee’s child, stepchild, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent, on the same terms upon which the employee is able to use personal sick leave benefits for the employee’s own illness or injury. An employer may request written verification of the employee’s absence from a healthcare professional if such verification is required under the employer’s employment benefit plan or paid time off policy.   An employer may limit the use of personal sick leave benefits provided by the employer for absences due to an illness, injury, or medical appointment of the employee’s child, stepchild, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent to an amount not less than the personal sick leave that would be earned or accrued during 6 months at the employee’s then current rate of entitlement. For employers who base personal sick leave benefits on an employee’s years of service instead of annual or monthly accrual, such employer may limit the amount of sick leave to half of the employee’s maximum annual grant.   An employer who provides personal sick leave benefits or a paid time off policy that would otherwise provide benefits as required above shall not be required to modify such benefits. This Employee Sick Leave Act does not extend the maximum period of leave to which an employee is entitled under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, regardless of whether the employee receives sick leave compensation during that leave.

Bereavement Leave

The Bereavement Leave act requires Illinois employers covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to allow employees to take off up to 10 work days per year as unpaid bereavement leave following the death of a child (or up to 6 weeks if the employee experiences the death of more than one child).

Jury Duty Leave

Any person who is not legally disqualified to serve on juries, and has been duly summoned for jury duty for either petit or grand jury service, shall be given time off from employment to serve upon the jury for which such employee is summoned, regardless of the employment shift such employee is assigned to at the time of service of such summons. An employee shall give his employer reasonable notice of required jury service. An employer may not deny an employee time off for jury duty because such employee is then assigned to work a night shift of employment, that is, an employer cannot require a night shift worker to work while such employee is doing jury duty in the daytime.

Domestic Violence Leave

The Illinois Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (“VESSA”) was amended effective January 1, 2017, to provide that all employers, regardless of size, must offer Illinois employees unpaid leave if they or a member of their family or household is the victim of domestic abuse. Previously, only employers with 15 or more employees were covered. Employers with 50 or more employers must offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave; employers with 15-49 employees must offer up to eight weeks of unpaid leave, and employers with less than 15 employees must offer up to four weeks of unpaid leave.

Voluntary Emergency Service Leave

Effective January 1, 2018, no public or private employer may terminate an employee who is a volunteer emergency worker because the employee, when acting as a volunteer emergency worker, is absent from or late to his or her employment in order to respond to an emergency prior to the time the employee is to report to his or her place of employment. A public or private employer shall not discipline an employee who is a volunteer emergency worker if the employee, in the scope of acting as a volunteer emergency worker, responds to an emergency phone call or text message during work hours that requests the person’s volunteer emergency services.

Donor Leave

State employees are entitled to up to 30 days of paid leave in any 12-month period. (§5 ILCS 327/20).  


Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Effective July 1, 2017, this ordinance allows workers in Chicago to earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year.


Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance

Effective July 1, 2017, this ordinance allows workers in Cook County to earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year.

Last updated on: February 7th, 2019