The Family and Military Leave Act (PA 94-589), signed by Governor Rod Blagojevich
and effective on August 15, 2005, creates another leave entitlement for Illinois
employers and employees.
- Employers of over 50 must grant up to 30 days' unpaid leave to employees
who are spouses or parents of military personnel. The leave
may take place during the time federal or state deployment orders are in effect.
The bill defines the term "employee" as one who has been employed
by the same employer for at least 12 months, and has worked for at least 1,250
- Employers of 15 to 50 employees to grant up to 15 days' unpaid leave
under the same circumstances.
- During the leave, employers must make it possible for employees to continue
their benefits at the employee's expense. Alternatively, the employer
and employee may negotiate for the employer to maintain benefits at the employer's
Employee requirements. Affected employees, where possible, must consult
with their employers to schedule the leave so as to not unduly disrupt company
operations. If the leave will consist of 5 or more consecutive work days, employees
must also give at least 14 days' notice of the date on which the leave
will begin. Those taking leave of fewer than 5 days must give as much advance
notice as practicable. Employees may not take leave unless they have exhausted
all accrued leaves except sick and disability.
Employee rights. Employees who exercise the right to leave are entitled,
when the leave expires, to restoration to the position they held when the leave
began, or to a position with equivalent seniority, benefits, pay, and other
terms and conditions of employment. This requirement does not apply if the employer
proves that the employee was not restored because of conditions unrelated to
the employee's exercise of rights under the new law.
Employer prohibitions. Employers may not interfere with, restrain, or
deny the exercise of these rights, nor discharge, fine, suspend, expel, discipline,
or discriminate against any employee that exercises these rights. Aggrieved
employees may bring employers to court in a civil lawsuit.