Illinois (IL) Maternity Leave Law

Just thought I would pop on here and let you know what I learned today about Illinois maternity leave laws from the Illinois Department of Labor web site. Hopefully you will find it interesting and useful!

In a nutshell, if you are a private sector employee Illinois has no laws guaranteeing job protection or benefits for new parents. So if you are a private sector employee your best bet is probably to use the two federal laws that come into play for pregnant women and new parents. They are the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and also by the Family Medical Leave Act.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act ensures that pregnant women are treated just like everyone else at the company. Basically, it makes it illegal for employers to fire, refuse to hire, or deny a woman a promotion because she’s pregnant. Also, f a company offers sick leave or disability to other employees, and then it also must offer them for pregnancy-related issues.

The Family Medical Leave Act allows private or public sector employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave to, among other things, take care of a newborn baby or newly adopted child. One thing though—if you plan to take advantage of this act you have to work for an employer with more than 50 employees in a 75-mile radius.

There’s a provisions you should be aware of under the FMLA. It is that it is completely legal for key employees to be terminated during leave. What does this mean? It means that your company can terminate you during your leave. You are considered a key employee if you are in the top 10 percent of highest paid employees. This provision was designed to ease economic hardships for companies who were missing key employees.

How do you know if you are one of these key employees? Your company has to tell you. If they decided to terminate you, they also have to give you the options of returning to work before your leave is up.

Now, the story is a bit different if you are a state employee. State employees who are members of the state employees’ group insurance program may be eligible for family and medical leave benefits. Eligible female state employees who pre-certify their pregnancy within the first trimester are entitled to three work weeks, or 15 days, of paid maternity leave. Eligible male state employees who pre-certify their spouse’s pregnancy in the first trimester are entitled to two work weeks, or ten days, or paid paternity leave. Illinois state employees re also entitled to one year of job-protected family leave to care for a newborn.

But what if you are adopting? Well, I found out that state employees who can show that a formal adoption process is underway are entitled to two work weeks, or ten days, of paid adoption leave. The leave begins when the employee gets physical custody of the child.

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