The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would dramatically change the playing field for employers who have post-employment non-compete agreements with employees or have a practice of requiring such agreements as a condition of employment. The FTC’s proposed rule is open for public comment until March 20, 2023. Whether the FTC’s proposed rule (once finalized) will survive legal challenges is a hotly debated topic among members of the legal community, many of whom believe that Congress did not clearly empower the FTC with the authority to enact such a broad rule, and therefore the rule will not survive given the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in West Virginia v. EPA.
On January 10, 2023, the Illinois legislature passed a bill, SB0208, which would require most Illinois employers to provide employees with up to 40 hours of paid leave for any reason on an annual basis. The bill, entitled the “Paid Leave for All Workers Act,” if signed by the Governor (who has already expressed his support) would take effect on January 1, 2024. The bill is expansive in that it would require nearly all employers with one or more employees working in Illinois to provide paid leave. Leave would begin to accrue on January 1, 2024 or upon commencement of employment, whichever is later, but covered employers could impose a 90-day waiting period before leave may be used. With limited exceptions, all employees would be eligible to accrue leave, at a rate of one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours per 12-month period (e.g., calendar year). Exempt employees are assumed to have worked a 40-hour week unless their regular workweek is less than 40 hours.
Notably, the bill specifically provides that employers who already provide “any type of paid leave policy that satisfies the minimum amount of leave required by subsection (a) of Section 15” (i.e., 40 hours or a pro rata amount based on hours worked) are not required to modify the policy if employees are given the option, at their discretion, to take paid leave for any reason. Given this provision, employers may choose to modify their existing vacation, paid time off, or sick leave policies to satisfy this new leave requirement, rather than create a new leave bank for employees.
In June 2021, the Illinois Equal Pay Act (IEPA) was amended to add a requirement for certain Illinois businesses to obtain an equal pay registration certificate (EPRC). The Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) issued its long awaited proposed rules regarding the EPRC requirements on May 20, 2022. The proposed rules are subject to a 45-day comment period, which has now passed, followed by an internal review, and a public hearing on August 9, which may result in additional changes before they become final.
However, some Illinois employers have already received notice of a deadline to file their Application for Certification before the rules are finalized. Therefore, a careful review of the proposed rules is helpful as we anticipate issuance of the final rules. While the proposed rules largely mirror statutory requirements (the basics which were laid out in prior posts here and here), IDOL has clarified or provided additional information on a number of topics.
As more organizations use artificial intelligence and algorithms to drive decision-making processes, policymakers are beginning to address concerns about these tools — including their lack of transparency and potential for generating unintended bias and discrimination. In our inaugural artificial intelligence briefing, we provide a rundown of recent AI regulatory and legislative developments from across the U.S. that should be top of mind for any organization using AI or algorithms.
In recent years, Illinois has enacted a complement of laws designed to address historical pay inequities among genders, races and other protected categories. Those laws prohibit employers from requesting or relying on an applicant’s salary history when making hiring decisions and impose a standard for proving equal pay claims less rigorous than the federal standard. Last summer, we reported here of yet another Illinois equal pay development, when Illinois amended the Equal Pay Act of 2003, 820 ILCS 112/1, et seq. to require certain employers to obtain an equal pay registration certificate from the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) between March 24, 2022 and March 23, 2024, and every two years thereafter.
Employers who have more than 100 employees in the state of Illinois and are required to file an EEO-1 report with the EEOC are subject to this certification requirement. The window for obtaining the required certificate opens on March 24, 2022, and IDOL recently announced that it had begun sending notices to employers reminding them to register with IDOL.
Several states and localities have passed laws that seek to address pay inequity, based on gender, race and other protected categories. While the intent behind these laws is similar, the laws impose different obligations. New York City is the latest locality to impose a salary range disclosure requirement on employers. On January 15, 2022, the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) was amended to prohibit employers with four or more workers (including independent contractors) from advertising a job, promotion or transfer opportunity without stating the minimum and maximum salary for the position. The range may extend from the lowest to the highest salary the employer in good faith believes at the time of the posting it would pay for the advertised job, promotion or transfer opportunity. New York City’s salary range law is effective May 15, 2022.