Illinois Employment Law: What Issues Should Employment Handbooks Discuss? (Part 2)

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Here are a few suggestions for your employment handbook.. Remember that there is no one-size fits all.  Let Rincker Law help you tailor your employment handbook to your company.


Illinois law does not require employers to offer vacation benefits; however, if the employer has established a policy, promised, or contracted to provide these benefits, then it must. See 820 ILCS 115/2. It is against the Illinois Department of Labor regulations to say that an employee forfeits earned vacation upon separation of employment. See 820 ILCS 115/2. Employers can implement a vacation policy where employees must use vacation time by a certain date or lose it (a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy), but must permit employees a reasonable opportunity to use the leave. See 56 Ill. Adm. Code 300.520(e).


Under Illinois law every employee who is entitled, after giving notice, to two (2) hours off work, provided that the employee’s working hours begin less than two (2) hours after the opening of the polls and end less than two (2) hours before the closing of the polls.


Under Illinois law, Illinois law does not require employers to provide employees bereavement leave or leave to attend funerals.  Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative.  Employers may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice they maintain.

Jury Duty

Employers are not required to pay an employee for responding to a jury summons or serving on a jury.  An employer must grant an employee time off to serve on a jury.  Furthermore, an employer may not require an employee to work a night shift while the employee is serving jury duty during the day.  An employer may not discharge, threaten to discharge, penalize, intimidate or coerce any employee who receives and/or responds to a jury summons or who serves on a jury.


Employment Procedures

  • Fiscal Year

  • Definition of types of employees

  • Letter of Agreement

  • Work for Hire Agreement

  • Annual Review

  • Pay Periods

  • Direct Deposit

  • Pre-hire medical, physical, or drug testing

  • Pay Period

  • Orientation Period


 Wage and Hour

Pursuant to the Wage Payment and Collection Act, employers are required to reimburse employees for “necessary expenditures” or losses incurred within the scope of employment.  These include telecommuting-related expenses, or “bring your own” devise policies. With regard to reimbursement, the employer should provide guidelines for the type of expenses that are reimbursable, the amount or proportion of the expense eligible for reimbursement, the type of documentary evidence (receipts, invoices, etc.) required for reimbursement, and the time period in which employees have to submit documents.

 Meeting, Lecture or Training

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, an employee’s time attending a meeting, seminar, lecture, or training must be counted as hours worked unless the attendance is outside the employee’s regular working hours, the attendance is voluntary, it is not directly related to the employee’s job, and the employee does not perform productive work while attending the event.

 Travel Time

Illinois minimum wage law requires employers to count employee travel time as hours worked if the travel is for the employer’s benefit as defined under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Examples of travel time that must be paid include travel performed as part of an employee’s primary duties or in substitution of his or her ordinary duties during normal hours, travel required to respond to an emergency call back to work outside their normal work hours, and travel required to respond to an employer’s special request to perform a particular and unusual assignment.

Meals and Breaks

Illinois law requires employers to permit employees who are to work 7½ continuous hours or more to take a meal period of at least 20 minutes. The meal period may be unpaid and it must be given to an employee no later than 5 hours after beginning work. 820 ILCS 140/3. Moreover, an employer must permit employees to take at least a twenty (20) minute meal period for each continuous 7½ hours they work. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal (lunch) period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than 20 minutes, must be paid.


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