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Paid Leave for All Workers Act FAQ

As of August 30, 2023 

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) provided below highlight topics and specific questions that are often asked of the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL). The information provided in the FAQs is intended to enhance public access and understanding of IDOL laws, regulations and compliance information. 

The FAQs should not be considered a substitute for the appropriate official documents (i.e. statute and/or administrative rules.) Individuals are urged to consult legal counsel of their choice. Court decisions may affect the interpretation and constitutionality of statutes. The Department cannot offer individuals legal advice or offer advisory opinions. If you need a legal opinion, we suggest you consult your own legal counsel. These FAQs are not to be considered complete and do not relieve employers from complying with applicable IDOL laws and regulations.

1. Are schools required to comply with the Paid Leave for All Workers Act (the Act)?

Public school districts organized under the School Code are exempt from the Act. A private school, not organized under the school code, is not exempt from the Act. (See 820 ILCS 192/10.)

2. Cook County has a paid leave ordinance, but municipalities are allowed to opt out of that county ordinance. Are employers located in municipalities which opted out required to comply with THE ACT?

Yes, employers located in jurisdictions that have opted out of a local paid leave law or ordinance are required to comply with the Illinois Paid Leave for All Workers Act.

3. My employer already provides paid time off. Do they have to add another 40 hours of leave under the Act?

An employer who already offers paid leave benefits that meet the minimum requirements of the Act does not have to add additional time.

4. Does the Act apply to part-time employees, or just full-time employees?

The Act doesn’t distinguish between part time, full time, or seasonal employees. Both full-time and part-time workers are covered by this Act.

5. Can an employer front-load paid leave time at the beginning of the year?

Yes, an employer may front-load paid leave time by giving a full year’s worth of leave that meets the minimum requirements of the Act to an employee at the beginning of the year.

6. Can an employer require employees to accrue paid leave time over the course of the year?

Yes, an employer may require their employees to accrue paid leave time based on number of hours worked, at a rate of one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked.  


Notably, while a part-time worker might not accrue the full 40 hours of leave provided for in the law by the end of the year, they might accrue fewer hours of leave, based on the number hours they’ve worked.   


Example: Employee A works 15 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. They will accrue 19.5 hours of paid leave annually.  (15 times 52 = 780 hours worked per year. 780 divided by 40 = 19.5 hours of paid leave.) 

7. When does accrual begin under the Act? When can employees start taking paid time off?

The Act takes effect January 1, 2024. Accrual begins upon beginning employment or January 1, 2024, whichever is later. However, employees are entitled to begin using the accrued paid leave after 90 days.   

The first day employees could take off time that has accrued since January 1, 2024 would be March 31, 2024. 


Example: The Paid Leave for All Workers Act takes effect January 1, 2024. Six months later, Employee B starts a new job on July 1, 2024, and works 40 hours per week. They start accruing paid leave on their first day (July 1) but must wait 90 days (until September 29, 2024) before taking any of their accrued paid leave. 


Example: Employee C has worked for their employer since 2019 but did not previously get paid time off. Employee C will begin accruing paid time off beginning January 1, 2024 (the effective date of the Act.)  

8. How does accrual apply to employees who work more than 40 hours in a week, but are exempt from the overtime requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act?

Employees (including but not limited to those commonly known as “salaried employees”) who are exempt from the overtime requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (29 U.S.C. 213(a)(1)) shall be deemed to work 40 hours in each workweek for purposes of paid leave time accrual if they regularly work 40 or more hours in a workweek. If such employee’s regular workweek is less than 40 hours, their paid leave time accrues based on the number of hours in their regular workweek.

9. If an employer provides paid leave through accrual, and the employer lets employees borrow against future accrual, thereby making the employee’s paid leave balance go negative, can the employer make the employee repay the paid leave if the employee ter

An employer may only make an employee repay borrowed accrued leave if that policy is disclosed in the employer’s written paid leave policy and the employee agrees to that policy in writing prior to taking any leave. All payroll deductions must comply with the requirements of the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act.

10. If an employer frontloads an employee’s paid leave at the beginning of the 12-month period, and the employee uses all of their leave and then quits before the end of the 12-month period, can the employer make the employee repay the paid leave?

No, an employer may not make an employee repay paid leave time that was frontloaded at the beginning of the 12-month period. Benefits that have already been provided may not be retroactively diminished. 

11. The law states that accrued time must be provided at a rate of 1 hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked. Can an employer provide the paid leave on an hourly rate, such as .025 hours of paid leave per hour worked?

Yes, an employer can choose to provide leave in smaller, proportional, increments, as long as the rate of benefit is at least 1 hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked. 

12. Does an unlimited PTO Policy comply with the Act?

To determine whether a specific employer’s unlimited PTO policy is compliant with this Act would require a fact-specific analysis upon complaint or formal investigation. One factor the Department would consider in such analysis would be whether the employee in question actually did, or had the ability to, freely take the full 40 hours in a year, consistent with the Act and the Rules.  Another factor would be whether the employees were paid their normal rate of pay for time they took off. This is not an exhaustive list of factors the Department may consider.

13. What does this law mean for temporary employees who work for 3rd party clients?

Employers of day and temporary laborers are not exempted from the Act. Employers should consider their obligations under the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act and the principles of joint employment. 

14. Must paid leave provided under the Act be paid out upon an employee’s termination, resignation, or retirement?

PLAW does not require payout of unused leave unless the leave is credited to the employee’s paid time off bank or employee vacation account; however, employers should additionally consider their vacation payout obligations under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act.