would prohibit an employer from: (i) screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history, (ii) requiring that an applicant's prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria, and (iii) requesting or requiring as a condition of being interviewed or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment that an applicant disclose prior wages or salary. It also would prohibit an employer from seeking the salary, including benefits or other compensation or salary history, of a job applicant from any current or former employer. It also undermines employer defenses along with expansion of civil penalties.
This measure uses employer and insurer tax dollars to capitalize the creation of a state established, mutual insurance company to compete with the over 300 insurers that already provide workers' compensation coverage. The $10 million of startup money are tax dollars that currently go to run the operations of the Workers' Compensation Commission. The legislation provides that the funds are a "loan" to be paid back with interest. Given the track record regarding finances of Illinois state government, it is difficult to believe the loan would be paid in a timely fashion. Furthermore, removing resources meant to support the operations of the Commission jeopardizes the entire adjudication of workers' compensation for injured workers as well as employers.
SB 2480 (Hastings) will have the effect of requiring all construction and maintenance work at privately owned petroleum refineries and petrochemical facilities within the state to be exclusively performed by members of certain trade unions. It requires a certain percentage of all workers to have successfully completed apprenticeship training. It requires advanced safety training regulated by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA).
Creates the Wage Lien Act to allow for the creation of a lien on an employer's property for the amount of unpaid wages owed to an employee.
Amends the Employer's Liability Rates Article of the Illinois Insurance Code to regulate workers' compensation insurance rates. Includes employer safety and return to work programs, returns injuries to the shoulder part of the arm and hip part of the leg, provisions concerning repetitive and cumulative injuries, annual reports done by IWCC on self-insurance, a Workers' Compensation Premium Rates Task Force, an evidence-based drug formulary, and other changes. This bill is identical to HB 2525 which was vetoed last year by the Governor.
Creates the Fair Scheduling Act to require employers to provide work schedules to employees at least 72 hours before the start of the first shift of the work schedule and to provide pay when an employee's work shift is canceled or reduced within 72 hours of the beginning of the shift. Prohibits retaliation by employers when employees seek to enforce rights under the Act. Authorizes private actions for damages. Enforced through the Department of Labor.
Creates the Employee Background Fairness Act. Provides that an employer may not refuse to hire an individual and may not discharge an individual because of the individual's criminal history unless the individual has one or more convictions and there is a direct relationship between one of more of an individual's convictions and the specific employment sought. Prohibits retaliation for exercising rights under the Act. Provides that an individual denied or discharged from employment because of his or her criminal history in violation of the Act may recover from the employer in a civil action: (1) damages in the amount of $2,000 or actual damages, whichever is greater; (2) costs and such reasonable attorney fees as may be allowed by the Court; and (3) any other relief as may be appropriate, including punitive damages.
SB 3053/HB 5103
SB 3053 and HB 5103 both amend the state’s biometric law to provide employers the ability to use biometric information for internal employment purposes, so long as the employer is not using the information for commercial purposes.
HB 813 was amended to add all projects financed in whole or in part with revenues received under the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act, the County Economic Development Project Area Property Tax Allocation Act, or the County Economic Development Project Area Tax Increment Allocation Act to the Prevailing Wage Act. The Illinois Chamber opposes this economic development killer.
Makes numerous changes to the Workers' Compensation Act. Limits the scope of the term "arising out of and in the course of employment". Makes changes regarding recovery when an employee is travelling. Increases the duration of the period of temporary total incapacity necessary for recovery. Provides that injuries to the shoulder and hip are to be considered to be injuries to the arm and leg, respectfully. Provides for the implementation of a closed formulary for prescription medicine. Provides for electronic claims. Requires the posting of collateral when seeking judicial review.
Provides for a penalty for vexatious delay in payment of benefits. Increases criminal penalties for specified unlawful acts. Requires the Workers' Compensation Commission to provide annual reports to the Governor and General Assembly regarding self-insurance. Amends the Freedom of Information Act to exempt certain workers' compensation related information from the scope of that Act. Amends the Criminal Code of 2012 create the offense of workers' compensation fraud and prescribe penalties.
Support - Chamber Initiative
HB 5240 is an Illinois Chamber of Commerce initiative which amends the Workers' Compensation Act to require a recipient of certain pain management medication to sign a written agreement with the prescribing physician agreeing to comply with the conditions of the prescription. Prohibits additional prescriptions while the recipient is noncompliant. Limits the applicability of the lack of pain management as a consideration in awarding benefits. Provides for the disclosure of violations of the agreement upon request by the employer. Requires a prescribing physician to file quarterly reports to obtain payment.
SB 2863 (Raoul/Hoffman) amends the Employer's Liability Rates Article of the Illinois Insurance Code. Provides that a rate is excessive if it is likely to produce a long run profit that is unreasonably high for the insurance provided or if expenses are unreasonably high in relation to the services rendered. Makes changes regarding competitive markets exists and disapproval of rates under specified circumstances. Provides that accidental injuries sustained while traveling to or from work do not arise out of and in the course of employment. Permits an employer to file with the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission a workers' compensation safety program or a workers' compensation return to work program implemented by the employer. Provides that (i) injuries to the shoulder shall be considered injuries to part of the arm and (ii) injuries to the hip shall be considered injuries to part of the leg. Contains provisions concerning repetitive and cumulative injuries; permanent partial disability determinations; annual reports by the Commission concerning self-insurance for workers' compensation in Illinois; and duties of the Workers' Compensation Premium Rates Task Force. Makes additional changes to the Workers' Compensation Act. Provides for an evidence-based drug formulary. Requires an annual investigation of procedures covered for ambulatory surgical centers and the establishment of a fee schedule. Changes a waiting period for benefits for certain firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics. Changes compensation computations for subsequent injuries to the same part of the spine. This bill is substantially similar to HB 2525 that was vetoed by Governor Rauner in 2017. The bill passed the Senate but was never called for a full vote in the House. The Chamber opposed.
Identical to HB 2525 that was vetoed by Gov. Rauner last year.
Creates the Worker Protection Unit within the Office of the Illinois Attorney General to intervene in, initiate, enforce, and defend all criminal or civil legal proceedings on matters and violations relating to the Prevailing Wage Act, the Employee Classification Act, the Minimum Wage Law, the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act, and the Wage Payment and Collection Act. Creates the Worker Protection Task Force to submit a report to the Governor and the General Assembly regarding its progress no later than December 1, 2018. Repeals the Task Force December 1, 2019.
HB 4572 (Guzzardi/Castro) amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to redefine "employer" to include any person employing one (currently fifteen) or more employees within Illinois during twenty or more calendar weeks within the calendar year of or preceding the alleged violation. The Chamber opposed this measure. This bill passed both Houses.
SB 904 (Hastings/Hoffman) passed both Houses this session. SB 904 will allow medical providers to pursue the 1% per month interest penalty on unpaid medical bills in circuit court. During debate it was clarified that the intent of the legislation is that the changes to Section 8.2 (d) apply to undisputed bills. In addition, the measure adds language to Section 8.2a Electronic Billing requiring the Illinois Department of Insurance to adopt rules regarding health care providers responsibility "for supplying only those medical records pertaining to the provider's own claims that are minimally necessary under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996".
SB 2999 (Van Pelt/Conyears-Ervin) requires an employer to reimburse an employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee directly related to services performed for the employer. It requires that the expenditure must be within the scope of employment, authorized or required and appropriate documentation is provided. The Chamber worked out an amendment to remove our opposition and were neutral on its passage. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.
The House and Senate unanimously approved SB 20 (Steans) sending the measure next to the Governor for his consideration. This bill makes extensive procedural changes to the Illinois Human Rights Act and significant structural changes to the Illinois Human Rights Commission to provide for full-time, professional commissioners. A temporary panel of commissioners also will be responsible for eliminating the backlog of requests for review at the Commission. The one provision of concern were proposals that allowed for a complainant to go to circuit court during the investigation process. While not ideal, we did agree to a 60-day option that will allow a charge to be moved to circuit court. Notice to respondents will be required and any charge that goes to circuit court will be closed by the Department and no similar charge will be allowed to be filed at the Department at a later time. The Chamber has been at the forefront of negotiations to advance reform of the Human Rights Act, especially addressing the backlog at the Human Rights Commission.
Support — Chamber Initiative
HB 665 creates the Limitations of Actions for Negligent Hiring Act by providing that a cause of action may not be brought against a party solely for hiring an employee or independent contractor who has been convicted of a nonviolent, nonsexual offense.
Amends the Equal Pay Act of 2003 to prohibit an employer from: (i) screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history, (ii) requiring that an applicant’s prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria, and (iii) requesting or requiring as a condition of being interviewed or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment that an applicant disclose prior wages or salary. Prohibits an employer from seeking the salary, including benefits or other compensation or salary history, of a job applicant from any current or former employer.
HB 2622 uses employer and insurer tax dollars to capitalize the creation of a state established, mutual insurance company to compete with the over 300 insurers that already provide workers’ compensation coverage. The $10 million of startup money are tax dollars that currently go to run the operations of the Workers’ Compensation Commission. The legislation provides that the funds are a “loan” to be paid back with interest. Given the track record regarding finances of Illinois state government, it is difficult to believe the loan would be paid in a timely fashion. Furthermore, removing resources meant to support the operations of the Commission jeopardizes the entire adjudication of workers’ compensation for injured workers as well as employers.
If adopted this proposal enacts the Federal USDOL rule imposed by the Obama Administration and likely to be repealed by the Trump Administration. The overtime requirements of the Law do not apply to an employee employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity as defined by or covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 but compensated at a salary greater than $47,476 per year (rather than an amount specified by a federal regulation) or the weekly or monthly portion thereof or a greater salary as may be adopted by the U.S. Department of Labor. Provides that the amount shall increase annually by the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index.
Creates the Living Wage Act to require the State, its agencies, and political subdivisions to ensure that new contracts and subcontracts include a provision specifying that, as a condition of payment of the contract, the minimum wage to be paid to workers in performance of the contract or subcontract shall be at least $16.36 per hour for new contracts created after January 1, 2018. Provides that for every year thereafter, the Department of Labor shall adjust the amount of the hourly minimum wage by the annual percentage increase in the consumer price index.
SB 81 would increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022 for those over the age of 18 and $12 by 2022 for those under the age of 18.
Creates the Limitations on Forced Arbitration Act. Defines terms and contains statements of findings, purpose, and policy. Places conditions limiting the use of forced arbitration agreements on entities doing business with the State. Creates a rebuttable presumption that specified contract terms relating to forced arbitration agreements are unconscionable. Prohibits arbitration agreements in specified situations. Provides that, with specified exceptions, appellate courts do not have jurisdiction to review a trial court’s interlocutory order denying a motion to compel arbitration or otherwise concluding that an arbitration agreement is unenforceable or does not apply to a particular claim. Provides that a person may initiate on behalf of the State an action alleging violations of the Act to recover civil penalties on behalf of the State and to seek injunctive, declaratory, or other equitable relief that the State would itself be entitled to seek.
Creates the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act. Provides that it is the policy of the State that employers, employees, and their labor organizations are free to bargain collectively. Provides that the authority to enact laws or rules that restrict the use of union security agreements between an employer and a labor organization vests exclusively with the General Assembly. Prohibits local governments from enforcing any such law or rule.
Creates the Wage Lien Act to state that a lien exists on an employer’s property for the amount of unpaid wages owed to an employee.
Codification of current bad case law for “causation” and “traveling employee” merely locks employers into the court expanded liability. In addition, it prevents employers from being able to achieve a change in the case law from future courts. Senate amendment 2 offers some relief but is far outweighed by increased regulation and litigation that are contained in the measure.
Amends the Personnel Record Review Act to require records of disciplinary action to be kept for 10 years rather than 4 years.
HB 2771 as amended, would require employers to provide 5 sick days to employees. An employee may earn sick days 180 days after beginning employment at the accrual rate of one hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked. School districts, park districts, and certain City of Chicago sister agencies are exempt. The Department of Labor will administer the program. Individuals may file civil actions with respect to violations of the new Act.
Creates the Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act to require an employer to furnish to a discharged employee a statement of reasons for the discharge. Prohibits an employer from preventing or attempting to prevent a discharged employee from obtaining other employment.
SB 640 addresses the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Process by clarifying and streamlining the process of the appeal of workers’ compensation and occupational diseases decisions to work efficiently and effectively for injured workers and employers. In addition, this bill also allows employers to use their insurance policy, self-insurance certificate or other means of guarantee in lieu of a bond upon appeal. Lastly, this allows a party to appeal an Appellate Court decision to the Supreme Court without certification by two members of the appellate court.
Creates the Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act. Provides that a discharge from employment is wrongful if it (1) was a constructive discharge, (2) was in retaliation for the employee’s refusal to violate public policy or for reporting a violation of public policy, (3) was not for good cause and the employee had completed the employer’s probationary period for employment, or (4) the employer violated the express provisions of its written personnel policy.