Illinois Overtime Laws & Wages Attorney

Illinois Overtime and Labor Laws

Navigating the complexities of Illinois overtime and labor laws can be challenging. The Lore Law Firm is committed to providing clear, actionable guidance to help workers understand their rights and obligations under these regulations. This page offers an overview of key aspects of Illinois labor laws, including overtime provisions, wage requirements, and other critical employment standards. Our goal is to ensure that you are well informed about the legal protections in place to safeguard your interests in the workplace. Whether you need assistance with enforcing wage laws or you’re seeking clarification on overtime eligibility, the Lore Law Firm can be a resource. 

Minimum Wage Regulations

Effective January 1, 2024, the minimum wage in Illinois is $14.00 an hour for non-tipped workers 18 years of age and older. Those under 18 may be paid $12.00 per hour, but once the individual works more than 650 hours in a calendar year, they must be paid the full minimum wage of $14.00 per hour. Starting January 1, 2025, the minimum wage will increase to $15.00 per hour.

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Minimum Wage Regulations for New Employees

New employees over the age of 18 in the first 90 days of employment may be paid up to 50 cents less per hour.

Minimum Wage Regulations for Tipped Employees

Employers may take a credit of up to 40% of wages for tipped employees. Effective January 1, 2024, tipped employees in Illinois must be paid a minimum wage of $8.40 per hour. Starting January 1, 2025, tipped employees will be entitled to a minimum wage of $9.00 per hour.

Minimum Wage Regulations in Chicago

Chicago has a tiered minimum wage: employers with 21 or more workers must pay $15.80 per hour, and employers with four to 20 workers must pay $15.00 per hour. Tipped employees are entitled to a minimum wage of $9.00 for employers with four to 20 workers and $9.48 for employers with 21 or more workers. 

For certain workers in Chicago, the Fair Workweek ordinance requires covered employers to provide predictable schedules and pay for scheduling changes. For details on this ordinance, see https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/bacp/supp_info/fairworkweek.html.

Minimum Wage Regulations in Cook County

As of January 1, 2024, the minimum wage in Cook County, excluding Chicago, for non-tipped workers is $14.00 per hour. The minimum wage for tipped workers is $8.40 per hour. The Cook County Minimum Wage Ordinance details these requirements. 

Overtime Regulations

According to Illinois State overtime law, non-exempt employees who work over 40 hours in a workweek are entitled to overtime pay equal to time and one-half (1.5x) times their regular rate of pay.

Specific Overtime Exemptions Under Illinois Overtime Rules

The following employees are exempt from overtime pay according to the state of Illinois overtime laws (this link provides a summary of the various exemptions from overtime pay that are recognized by Illinois labor law):

  • executive, administrative, or professional employees as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act
  • commissioned employees defined by Section 7(i) of the Fair Labor Standards Act
  • certain computer employees (i.e., programmers, engineers, systems analysts) who are paid a salary of at least $684/week or at least $27.63 on an hourly basis
  • agricultural workers
  • salesmen and mechanics involved in selling or servicing cars, trucks, or farm implements at dealerships
  • certain employees involved in radio/television in a city with a population under 100,000
  • employees who exchange hours pursuant to a workplace exchange agreement
  • employees of a motor carrier, including truck drivers, loaders, and others who have safety-related duties, so long as the U.S. Department of Transportation has the authority to set maximum hours of service under federal law or the Illinois Vehicle Code
  • employees of the state and its agencies, municipalities, and units of local government and school districts
  • employees of certain educational or residential childcare institutions

The Illinois state wage laws, unlike federal law, do not provide a specific overtime pay exemption for the following types of employees:

  • Highly Compensated Employees ($107,432+ per year)

Overtime Pay Calculations

Overtime pay calculations in Illinois involve more than just hourly wages; they also include bonuses, shift differentials, commissions, and other incentive payments. Understanding how overtime compensation is calculated is essential for employees to ensure they receive all due wages. This is a key protection under Illinois labor laws, designed to prevent workers from being overworked and underpaid.

Examples:

  • For a non-exempt employee earning $25/hour: If they work 45 hours in a week, their overtime pay would be calculated as $25 x 1.5 x 5 hours = $187.50 extra for that week.
  • For a non-exempt employee with a salary of $1000/week: Assuming a 50-hour workweek, their effective hourly rate becomes $20/hour ($1000/50 hours), making their overtime rate $30/hour. For the 10 hours of overtime, they would earn an additional $300. 

Misclassifying Employees in Illinois

In Illinois, the misclassification of employees, particularly as independent contractors, is a significant legal issue that can have profound consequences for both workers and employers. Misclassification occurs when an employer improperly categorizes an employee as an independent contractor, thereby exempting the worker from critical protections such as minimum wage, overtime pay, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation.

Illinois law uses specific criteria to determine whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor. The primary consideration is the degree of control the employer has over the work performed and the worker’s economic independence. Misclassifying employees as independent contractors not only deprives workers of essential benefits and rights but can also lead to substantial penalties for employers, including fines, back pay, and damages.

Construction Contractors

The Illinois Employee Classification Act (ECA) became effective in January 2008 and applies to all construction work performed in the state. The act specifically targets unlawful pay practices common in the construction industry, such as misclassifying workers as independent contractors instead of employees.

Workers are able to bring a private lawsuit to recover wages, salary, employment benefits, and other compensation, as well as liquidated damages in an equal amount (double damages). These claims must be brought within three years from the final date of services for the construction contractor.

Holidays / Vacations

In Illinois, while there is no statutory requirement for private employers to provide paid vacation or holidays, many choose to offer these benefits as part of an employment agreement or policy. When employers offer paid vacation, the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act requires that accrued vacation time be treated as earned wages. Therefore, upon termination of employment, any unused vacation days must be compensated in the final paycheck. This ensures that employees receive fair compensation for their accrued time off, aligning with their rights under agreed-upon employment terms.

Meal Periods / Rest Periods

In Illinois, employees who work shifts of 7.5 continuous hours or more are entitled to a 20-minute meal period within the first five hours of their shift. Additionally, Illinois employers must provide reasonable unpaid break time each day for an employee who needs to express breast milk for her infant child up to one year after the child’s birth. These regulations ensure that workers have adequate rest and personal time during their work hours, promoting a healthier work environment and supporting employee well-being.

One Day Rest in Seven Act Amendments (ODRISA)

The law governing meal periods and rest breaks for employees in Illinois – the One Day Rest in Seven Act (ODRISA) – has been amended in several key aspects which are effective on January 1, 2023.

First, employers are required to provide at least 24 consecutive rest hours within every consecutive seven-day period. Before these amendments, rest periods were compliant if they were provided once within a “work week.” Beginning in 2023, however, employers must provide a rest period within every consecutive seven-day period, regardless of which week the seven-day period starts or ends. Employers may still seek waivers from the Illinois Department of Labor if employees would like to volunteer to work past the seven-day period without a 24-hour rest period.

As for meal periods, ODRISA has long required employers to provide an unpaid 20-minute lunch break within the first 5 hours to all employees who work 7.5 hours or longer. Under the new amendments, employers must now also provide an additional 20-minute lunch break to all employees for every 4.5 hours over the 7.5 hours (i.e., for any employees that work 12 hours or more). Employers are prohibited from treating “reasonable time using the restroom facilities” as a meal period.

Employers are also required to post a notice provided by the IDOL summarizing ODRISA’s requirements and providing employees with information on how to file a complaint with the IDOL. The notice can be sent to remote employees by email or posted on the employer’s website.

The amendments also substantially increase the penalties for ODRISA violations. Such violations can now result in penalties of $250 per offense for employers with less than 25 employees and $500 per offense for employers with 25 employees or more. Additionally, each employee impacted by the violation would be entitled to damages of $250 for employers with less than 25 employees and $500 for employers with 25 employees or more.

There is no private right of action under ODRISA. Claims may be brought by the Department of Labor.

Deductions

The following can be deducted from employees’ checks:

  • Deductions required by law, such as taxes
  • Deductions that benefit the employee, such as union dues, health insurance premiums, etc.
  • Deductions pursuant to wage assignments or wage deduction orders
  • Deductions that the employee has given written consent for

Employers are required to furnish employees with an itemized statement of deductions for each pay period.

Employers are required to furnish employees with an itemized statement of deductions for each pay period. Employees of the City of Chicago, METRA, CTA, CHA, Chicago Park District, Chicago Board of Education, and Chicago City Colleges may be subject to other deductions.

Expense Reimbursements

As of January 1, 2019, Illinois law requires employers to reimburse employees for necessary expenses and losses incurred by employees in the course of their employment.  Necessary expenses are defined as all reasonable expenses or losses required of the employee in the discharge of employment duties that primarily benefit the employer.

An employee should submit expenses within 30 days of incurring the expense unless the employer’s policy provides additional time through a written policy.

Note that the law also states that an employee is not entitled to expense reimbursement if the employee fails to comply with the employer’s written expense reimbursement policy. Click for the full text of the law.

Pay Period / Records

Employers are required to pay employees at least semi-monthly (twice a month). Commissions and executive, administrative, and professional employees may be paid once a month. Wages must be paid no later than 13 days after the end of the pay period.

Payment for an employee’s final wages should be made at the time of termination but no later than the next regularly scheduled payday for the employee. If the employee makes a written request that their final pay be mailed to him/her, an employer must honor this request.

Illinois state law allows employees to request their personnel records from their employer two times per year and for up to one year after separation.

Enforcement of Wage Laws / Penalties

Illinois’ Wage Payment and Collection Act allows one or more workers to file a private lawsuit without first filing a claim with the IDOL. This action may be filed as a class action on behalf of themselves and other “similarly situated” employees and filed in either the county where the violation occurred or where an employee who is a party to the case resides.

Employers who fail to properly pay wages can also be liable for an additional penalty equal to 2% of the unpaid wages owed to employees for each month of the underpayment. This is in addition to costs and attorneys’ fees.

If a Sales Representative is not paid commissions timely or not paid timely pursuant to a contract, they may recover up to three times the amount owed as punitive/exemplary damages.

Statute of Limitations

Illinois’ statute of limitations under the Minimum Wage Law is three years, so unpaid overtime can be collected up to three years from the date earned. The statute of limitations for claims under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act is ten years.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my employer require that I work overtime?

Yes, according to Illinois overtime law, unless working that time prevents you from getting one day of rest during a calendar week as required by the One Day Rest in Seven Act (see above).

Can my employer pay me ‘comp time’ instead of overtime?

No. Private employers are not allowed to give compensatory time off in place of overtime.

Can my pay be lowered?

Yes, as long as your employer advises you of the change prior to you performing work at the lower rate and the rate is no lower than minimum wage.

Is overtime pay required for working holidays or Sundays?

No, the state of Illinois overtime laws are not triggered unless working the holiday or Sunday puts you over 40 hours in the workweek.

Can my employer deduct money from my check for damages or cash shortages?

No, unless you sign a written authorization for this deduction at the time the deduction is made.

Do I have to pay for my uniform?

Your employer cannot deduct the cost of your uniform from your paycheck unless you sign an express written agreement at the time the deduction is made.

When is my last paycheck due?

Final wages must be paid on the next regularly scheduled payday. If the employee makes a written request that their final pay be mailed to him/her, an employer must honor this request.

Can my final paycheck be held until I return my employer’s items, such as uniforms, tools, etc.?

No

Can my employer use fingerprint, eye, or face scanner time clocks or access devices?

The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) protects workers who are required to use devices such as biometric time clocks to punch-in / punch-out and record their time worked.  While the law does not prohibit employers in Illinois from using such devices, it does require them to follow certain rules and procedures aimed at protecting employees’ sensitive information – including providing information to workers and obtaining a written release from them before their fingerprints or other biometric data are used. If a company violates BIPA, individuals can recover $1,000 to $5,000 for each violation. For more information, see the key points that workers need to know about the Illinois biometric information privacy law.

How do I know if I qualify as an executive, administrative, or professional employee?

In Illinois, you qualify as an executive, administrative, or professional employee if you meet the criteria set forth by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which includes specific job duties, decision-making authority, and a salary that meets or exceeds a certain threshold, thereby classifying you as exempt from overtime. For precise qualifications, reviewing the FLSA guidelines or consulting with a labor law expert is recommended.

If I am paid a salary, do I still qualify for overtime pay?

Being paid a salary does not automatically exempt you from overtime pay. Whether you qualify for overtime depends on your job duties and salary level, as defined by the FLSA exemptions. If your role does not meet these exemption criteria, you are eligible for overtime pay.

Can I refuse to work overtime in Illinois?

In Illinois, employees generally do not have the legal right to refuse mandated overtime unless covered by a specific contract or collective bargaining agreement that limits overtime hours. Employers must comply with applicable overtime pay requirements when assigning extra hours.

Contact Our Illinois Wage and Hour Attorney

At the Lore Law Firm, we focus on defending workers’ rights and promoting fair employment practices in Illinois. If you are dealing with overtime issues, wage disputes, or other employment challenges, our experienced attorneys are ready to assist you. Reach out to us for a consultation, and let us help you secure the justice you deserve.

Can my employer require that I work overtime?

Yes, according to Illinois overtime law, unless working that time prevents you from getting one day of rest during a calendar week as required by the One Day Rest in Seven Act. (See above)

Can my employer pay me ‘comp time’ instead of overtime?

No. Private employers are not allowed to give compensatory time off in place overtime.

Can my pay be lowered?

Yes, as long as your employer advises you of the change prior to you performing work at the lower rate and the rate is no lower than minimum wage.

Is overtime pay required for working holidays or Sundays?

No, the state of Illinois overtime laws is not triggered unless working the holiday or Sunday puts you over 40 hours in the workweek.

Can my employer deduct money from my check for damages or cash shortages?

No, unless you sign a written authorization for this deduction at the time the deduction is made.

Do I have to pay for my uniform?

Your employer cannot deduct the cost of your uniform from your paycheck unless you sign an express written agreement at the time the deduction is made.

When is my last paycheck due?

Final wages must be paid on the next regularly scheduled payday. If the employee makes a written request that their final pay ve mailed to him/her, an employer must honor this request.

Can my final paycheck be held until I return my employer's items such as uniforms, tools, etc.?

No

Can my employer use fingerprint, eye or face scanner time clocks or access devices?

The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) protects workers who are required to use devices such as biometric time clocks to punch-in / punch-out and record their time worked.  While the law does not prohibit employers in Illinois from using such devices, it does require them to follow certain rules and procedures aimed at protecting employees’ sensitive information – including providing information to workers and obtaining a written release from them, before their fingerprints or other biometric data are used. If a company violates BIPA, individuals can recover $1,000 to $5,000 for each violation. For more information, see the key points that workers need to know about the Illinois biometric information privacy law.