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Equal Pay Registration Certificate (EPRC) - FAQS

Illinois law requires private businesses with 100 or more employees in the State of Illinois* to submit an application to obtain an Equal Pay Registration Certificate (EPRC) by providing certain pay, demographic, and other data to the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) by March 24, 2024, and to recertify every two years after the first submission. The law also requires such employers to submit certain information with their application, including: a statement certifying that the business is in compliance with the Equal Pay Act of 2003 and other State and federal laws related to equal pay.

Please visit IDOL's Equal Pay Registration Certificate page to access the online portal that businesses must use to submit their contact information and required data to IDOL, a training guide for use of the portal, a compliance statement template, and other certification information and resources.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions regarding the Equal Pay Registration Certificate and what is required of businesses that are required to obtain a certificate. Please email DOL.EPRC@illinois.gov with any questions not answered below.

*Per House Bill 4604 of the 102nd General Assembly, for the purposes of this requirement, "business" means any private employer who has 100 or more employees in the State of Illinois and is required to file an Annual Employer Information Report EEO-1 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but does not include the State of Illinois or any political subdivision, municipal corporation, or other governmental unit or agency.

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. What is an Equal Pay Registration Certificate?

In 2021, the Illinois General Assembly passed and Governor Pritzker signed into law PA 101-656 and PA 102-36. These laws amended the Equal Pay Act of 2003 (820 ILCS 112 et seq.) by adding Section 11, which requires all private employers with 100 or more employees in Illinois to submit demographic and wage data to IDOL, along with a filed Annual Employer Information Report EEO-1 (IDOL has administratively suspended the EEO-1 filing requirement for businesses given an original deadline filing date in the calendar year 2023) and an Equal Pay Compliance Statement certifying that, among other things, the average compensation for its female and minority employees is not consistently below the average compensation for its male and non-minority employees. These legislative changes are intended to promote pay transparency and ensure that all Illinoisians, regardless of their background, receive equal pay for substantially similar work they do on behalf of an employer.

2. Which businesses are required to obtain an Equal Pay Registration Certificate and when?

A business includes an individual, partnership, corporation, LLC, association, business, trust, person, or entity for whom employees are gainfully employed.
 

Existing Business:  ONLY employers with 100 or more employees in Illinois (FAQ 5) AND that are required to file an EEO-1 with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (or their holding company is required to file an EEO-1) are required to obtain an Equal Pay Registration Certificate. If you have not been contacted by IDOL and have not provided IDOL with your contact information, please visit the survey of business contacts to receive further instructions .
 

New Businesses:  New private businesses with 100 or more employees in Illinois and that are required to file an EEO-1 with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity must visit the survey of business contacts; IDOL will then provide you with an EPRC deadlie due date, which will provide 120 days for your business to complete its submission. Once a new business has received an Equal Pay Registration Certificate, it is required to recertify every two years after the initial certification was issued (See FAQ 4).
 

Public Employers:  Public employers are not required to obtain an Equal Pay Registration Certificate.  Public employers are government agencies, school districts, and other sub-entities of government.  Religious organizations are not included in “public employers”.
 

Employers with 99 or fewer employees:  Businesses with 99 or fewer employees are not required to obtain an Equal Pay Registration Certificate. If a business receives a notice to certify or recertify and the business has 99 or fewer employees, or had 100 or more employees and now has 99 or fewer employees, the business must file an enrollment form with IDOL (see FAQ 13).

3. What if our business has multiple locations or multiple EIN?

If your business has ONE EIN number but multiple locations, you must create only one login for your business on the EPRC portal.

 

The portal is designed for you to register multiple businesses under one login when you have a separate business. A separate business is a business name that has a different/separate EIN or FEIN. If you created a login for a business/EIN that has 99 or fewer employees, then you must 1) complete the Exemption/Business Name Change Form  for that business name (See FAQ 14); you cannot delete an EPRC account or delete a business name added to an EPRC account for auditing purposes.

 

The address provided in your EPRC account should be the best address for business correspondence and does not need to be an Illinois address.

4. What is the requirement to recertify?

After receiving an initial Equal Pay Registration Certificate, businesses are required to recertify every two years from the date your last certificate was issued. IDOL will contact businesses by email to all email addresses provided in your EPRC account 180 days prior to recertification deadlines.

5. Who are Illinois employees?

Illinois employees are the individuals who worked at your factory/facility/office in Illinois plus the 100% remote employees who report directly to Illinois management.

6. How do I count the number of employees for my business to determine if I need to register or obtain a certificate?

For determining the requirement to certify, the total number of employees is the total number of Illinois employees your business employed on December 31 of the calendar year immediately preceding your reporting deadline.

7. What do I do if I have forgotten my login and password?

If you have an account/login, but have forgotten your user name or password, IDOL does not have control over password retention or reset. Please contact the DoIT help desk at 217-524-3648.

8. What do I do if my account users or account contacts have changed?

To add a user:  The new contact/user must create its own public ID, then log into the EPRC portal with the EIN number of your business.  A notice will appear that the EIN is already in the system.  The new user will the request access to the existing EPRC account which will generate an email to the primary user who can then approve the secondary contact.

 

To promote a secondary user:  To promote a secondary user to primary user status, the primary user must log into the EPRC account and click the plus sign icon next to the business contact to be promoted to primary status.  This will demote the primary contact to secondary status. If you need to delete a secondary contact click the trash can next to that contact name.

 

If you have an EPRC account, but your primary user cannot approve a new user, you should create a secondary user and then contact IDOL at DOL.EPRC@Illinois.gov for further assistance.

9. What is the application process to obtain an Equal Pay Registration Certificate?

A step-by-step Power Point instruction guide can be found on the EPRC Home Page.


If you have not created an account/login, you must first create an Illinois Public ID Account:

1.     To create an Illinois Public ID Account, click here (will open a new tab). Do not close out of this page, after your account is created, you will need to return here to log in to the online portal.

2.     Click "Create a new Account" and complete the registration form.  Note: The address for your business is the main business address you sue for correspondence whether inside Illinois our out-of-state.

3.     Create a primary and secondary contact.

4.     If you did not receive an email, please send an email to DOL.EPRC@Illinois.gov for further instructions.

 

To complete the Application Process (after a login is created):

In the EPRC portal:

1.     Import or upload a list of all employees during the calendar year immediately preceding your application due date separated by gender, race, and ethnicity categories as reported to in the most recently filed EEO-1 in a text-searchable, sortable Microsoft Excel file or comma-separated values file format, as well as any other information required by IDOL (a sample template for wage data can be found at Equal Pay Registration Certificate Template (XLS).

2.     The business may provide any other information it believes is relevant to explain any pay disparities amongst its employees by uploading a document containing the relevant information AND listing which employees the information applies to in the document section of the portal.

3.     Up load the Equal Pay Compliance Statement found at Compliance Statement Template signed by a corporate officer, legal counsel, or authorized agent of the business.

4.     If you are completing a recertification, you are not required to upload a copy of any EEO-1 report you filed with the Federal EEOC. If your business is completing an original application for an Original Notice of Deadline date of January 1, 2023 or later, you are not required to upload a copy of any EEO-1 report. If your business is completing an original application for an Original Notice of Deadline date prior to January 1, 2023, you are required to upload the EEO-1 statement you filed in the year 2021 with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.; and

5.     Submit your filing fee (The fee must be paid by electronic payment using any major credit or debit card within the portal at the end of the application process).

 

A flow chart of the EPRC application process can be found at Equal Pay Registration Certificate Process Flowchart

10. What does "wages" mean for reporting purposes?

“Wages” means any compensation paid to an employee by an employer pursuant to an employment contract or agreement between the two parties, including wages, salaries, earned commissions, deferred compensation, earned bonuses, stocks and ownership shares.  Wages includes wages paid for Vacation and PTO.


Wages as reported on an employee’s W2-Box 5 should have the most complete information for the purposes of EPRC data reporting.

11. What does "hours" mean for reporting purposes?

“Hours” means all compensated hours.  Hours includes hours paid for vacation and PTO.

 

Hours for Salaried Employees: For salaried employees where you do not track the hours worked you should enter the gross yearly paid hours required under your employment agreement.

12. What if I have a question on how to Report Data?

Data must be imported in alpha and numeric data only; use of special characters, decimal points, commas, or abbreviations will cause a data error.  The best form to import data is in a CSV file. A sample data template is available hereYou must use the exact language from the template to have your data import without error messages.

 

How do I report data for an employee who was promoted during a reporting calendar year?

If you receive an error message when uploading our data, you should email a screen shot of the error message to DOL.EPRC@Illinois.gov for review.

 

How do I report data for an employee who was promoted during a reporting calendar year?

One entry should be created with the employee’s original hire date and a termination date when the employee was promoted and a second entry would be created for that same employee with a “hire” date, and an additional entry would be created of additional promotions.

 

How do I report data for an employee who was terminated/separated/laid off and was then rehired?

One entry would be created with the employee’s original hire date and a termination date when the employee separated and a second entry would be created for that same employee with a “hire” date when the employee was rehired, and an additional entry would be created of separations and rehires.

 

How do I report data for an employee who has differing pay rates in one reporting period?

If an employee simultaneously works for a single employer in different classifications or with different titles, the business should upload a document with an explanation which lists the employees involved to the document section of the portal.

 

All questions or concerns about employee reporting should be directed to DOL.EPRC@Illinois.gov and will be resolved on a case-by-case basis.

13. Which businesses are not required to certify?

Businesses that have received a deadline to certify or recertify and believe an exemption applies to their business MUST apply for an exemption, see FAQ 14.

 

Business that are exempt are:

1.     Businesses with 99 or fewer employees as defined in FAQ 5 and 6.

2.     Businesses that are not required to file an Annual Employer Information Report EEO-1 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

3.     State of Illinois Government agencies. Government Agency includes the State of Illinois, any state officer, department, or agency, any unit of local government, and any public school district

4.     Federal Agencies.

5.     Any other reasons will be reviewed after an Exemption-Business Name Change Form is submitted.

14. How does a business apply for an exemption?

The Exemption-Business Name Change Form is available at Exemption-Business Name Change Form. A business that has received a notice to certify or recertify and believes it is exempt from reporting, must submit an Exemption Form, completed and signed by an authorized agent of the business and submitted by email to DOL.EPRC@Illinois.gov.  If IDOL denies the exemption, IDOL will email the business with the reason why the exemption is denied and your business will be required to complete its submission by the issued deadline or re-submit an exemption/business name change form.

15. How does an employee request information about their employer?

The Illinois Equal Pay Act allows currently employed individuals to request anonymized data for the pay rates of employees in their job title or job classification limited to their employer and limited to county where the employee works.

 

A current employee of a business may request data for their own job classification or job title and the pay for that job classification or job title.  The request must be in writing and contain the employee’s name, date of hire, job title or classification, and the dates for the data being requested, with a signed affidavit from the employee and must also include evidence that the employee currently holds the specific job title at that business. Acceptable evidence includes pay stubs, work schedules, a hire letter, a work ID, business cards, and company website listings.  A Request for Data Form is available at Equal Pay Registration Certificate Request for Data Form

16. What happens to businesses who do not comply with the Equal Pay Registration Certificate requirements of Section 11 of the Equal Pay Act?

A private employer who has 100 or more employees in Illinois and is required to file an annual EEO-1 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and who commits a violation of Section 11 shall be fined up to $10,000.

 

Before any fines can be imposed for a violation of Section 11(b) of the Equal Pay Act, IDOL shall provide notice to an employer with 100 or more employees who violates Section 11(b) and inadvertently fails to file an initial EPRC application or recertification that they have 30 calendar days to submit the application or recertification.

17. What is an Equal Pay Compliance Statement?

An Equal Pay Compliance Statement is a statement that our business complies with Federal and State Equal Pay laws and reviews its pay structure on a regular basis.  Uploading your employee manual does not comply with this provision.  All the provisions/paragraphs in the template must be completed and submitted as part of your EPRC application. It must be submitted in writing, and must be signed by a corporate officer, legal counsel, or authorized agent of the business submitting the application. The Compliance statement certifies:

1.     that the business in compliance with the Equal Pay Act and other relevant laws, including but not limited to, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e), the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (29 U.S.C. 206(d)), the Illinois Human Rights Act (775 ILCS 5), and the Equal Wage Act (820 ILCS 110);

2.     that the average compensation for its female and minority employees is not consistently below the average compensation, as determined by rule by the United States Department of Labor, for its male and non-minority employees within each of the major job categories in the Employer Information Report EEO-1 for which an employee is expected to perform work;

3.     that the business does not restrict employees of one sex to certain job classifications, and makes retention and promotion decisions without regard to sex;

4.     that the business corrects wage and benefit disparities when identified;

5.     how often the business evaluates benefits and wages; and

6.     the approach the business takes in determining what level of wages and benefits to pay its employees.

To download an Equal Pay Compliance Statement template, click here.

18. When do I need to submit my Equal Pay Registration Certificate application?

You are required to submit by March 23, 2024 by statute according to the early Deadline issued to your business name. IF YOU DID NOT RECEIVE A NOTICE OF DEADLINE YOU ARE REQUIRED TO COMPLETE A SUBMISSION BY MARCH 23, 2024 BY THE STATUE.

 

If you would like to make sure IDOL has your correct contact information, please visit the Survey of Business Contacts to submit your contact information. Registering your business name in the survey of business contacts will inform IDOL that you have 100 or more employees and are required to obtain an Equal Pay Registration Certificate. IDOL will then provide your business with instructions to create and EPRC account and how to complete your submission.

19. What information am I required to submit in my Equal Pay Registration Certificate application?

A business's EPRC application must include:

1.     A list of all employees during the 12-month calendar year immediately prior to the original deadline date or recertification due date separated by gender and the race and ethnicity categories as reported in the business's most recently filed Employer Information Report EEO-1 in a text-searchable, sortable Microsoft Excel file or comma-separated values file format, as well as any other information required by IDOL on the application form. The business may provide any other information it believes is relevant to explain any pay disparities amongst its employees. Beginning in 2023, businesses must also provide the hours worked by each employee during the payroll year to help the Department determine pay equity between employees; and

2.     An Equal Pay Compliance Statement signed by a corporate officer, legal counsel, or authorized agent of the business.

20. My total employee count has dropped below 100, but I just received a letter from IDOL with a recertification due date. What do I do?

If your total employee count was fewer than 100 employees as defined in FAQ 5a, you MUST complete an exemption form Exemption-Business Name Change Form and send the complete, signed form to DOL.EPRC@Illinois.gov.

21. I do not have gender or race data for some of my employees, but this data is required in the EPRC application. How do I report gender or race for employees who choose not to self-identify those categories?

If you have employees who have chosen not to identify their race and/or gender, you may select "choose not to identify" for the applicable category or categories.

22. I do not have ethnicity data for some of my employees, but this data is required in the EPRC application. How do I report ethnicity for employees who choose not to self-identify those categories?

The IDOL follows the Federal EEOC below:

 

Voluntary self-identification by employees is the preferred method of identifying the race and/or ethnicity information required for the EEO-1 Component 1 report. The basic principlesfor race and ethnicity self-identification for purposes of the EEO-1 Component 1 report are:

(1) Offer employees the opportunity to self-identify.

(2) Provide a statement about the voluntary nature of this inquiry for employees.

For example, language such as the following may be used (employers may adapt this language):

“The employer is subject to certain governmental recordkeeping and reporting requirementsfor the administration of civil rights laws and regulations. In order to comply with these laws, the employer invites employees to voluntarily self-identify their race or ethnicity. Submission of this information is voluntary and refusal to provide it will not subject you to any adverse treatment. The information obtained will be kept confidential and may only be used in accordance with the provisions of applicable laws, executive orders, and regulations, including those that require the information to be summarized and reported to the federal government for civil rights enforcement. When reported, data will not identify any specific individual.”

If an employee declines to self-identify their race and/or ethnicity, employment records or observer identification may be used. Where records are maintained, they should be kept separately from the employee’s basic personnel file or other records available to those responsible for personnel decisions.

23. Will an employer's wage data be publicly available?

Section 11 of the Equal Pay Act allows IDOL to compile aggregate data and reports based on the wage data submitted that include the job category and the average hourly wage by county for each gender, race, and ethnicity category on the EPRC applications. These reports are not required to be kept confidential, but they will not include any data that could be associated to any individual business or person. All such individually identifiable business or person information is required to be kept confidential under Section 11, with two exceptions:

 

1.     A current employee of a business subject to Section 11 may request anonymized data regarding their job classification or title and the pay for that classification. No individually identifiable information may be provided to an employee making such a request. Equal Pay Registration Certificate Request for Data Form

2.     IDOL may share data and identifiable information with the Department of Human Rights, pursuant to its enforcement of Article 2 of the Illinois Human Rights Act, or the Office of the Attorney General, pursuant to its enforcement of Section 10-104 of the Illinois Human Rights Act.

24. What if an employer's wage data shows that it is not paying its employees equally?

If the wage data submitted in an employer's EPRC application shows that the employer is paying unequal wages to men and women employees or to African-American and non-African American employees, IDOL may initiate its own investigation pursuant to Sections 10(a) and 15(c) of the Equal Pay Act and Section 320.200 of the Equal Pay administrative regulations. See Subpart H of the Administrative Rules

25. What happens if an employer falsifies or misrepresents information in their Equal Pay Registration Certificate application?

Falsification or misrepresentation of information on an EPRC application submitted to IDOL is a violation of the Equal Pay Act and IDOL may seek to suspend or revoke an Equal Pay Registration Certificate or impose civil penalties up to $10,000.

26. What changes will the Illinois Department of Labor be making to application process for 2024?

The IDOL will not be making any changes to the application process in 2024.