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Legislative Update from ILSHRM

    May 8, 2018

    Below is a report from Jay Shattuck, ILSHRM lobbyist.

    A key point in the legislative process was reached last Friday. Both legislative chambers had a deadline for passage for bills in their house of origin on April 27th. Now, legislative measures will proceed thru the second chamber during the month of May. The scheduled adjournment of the General Assembly is May 31st. A handful of bills of interest in the Senate had their deadline extended to May 3rd.

    If you have any questions concerning any of these measures, please feel free to contact me.

    Here are some of the key issues we are working on:

    Wage, Salary & Benefit Prohibition Legislation Pending in the Senate 

    HB 4163 (Rep. Moeller/Sen. Castro) Amends the Equal Pay Act of 2003 prohibiting an employer from: (i) screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history, (ii) requiring that an applicant's prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria, and (iii) requesting or requiring as a condition of being interviewed or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment that an applicant disclose prior wages or salary. Prohibits an employer from seeking the salary, including benefits or other compensation or salary history, of a job applicant from any current or former employer, with some exceptions. Greatly expands civil penalties and injunctive relief. This legislation was assigned to a Senate Labor Committee. An amendment was placed on HB 4163 prior to its passage that eliminated an employer's wage differential defense does not apply if an employee demonstrates that an alternative employment practice exists that would serve the same business purpose without producing the differential and the employer has refused to adopt the alternative practice. The Senate also has pending SB 3390 (Sen. Castro) which is identical to HB 2462 that was vetoed by Gov. Rauner last year.  A similar amendment is pending for SB 3390. 

    Sen. Bertino-Tarrant (D-Plainfield), sponsor of SB 3100 and Sen. Connelly, sponsor of SB 2333, offer a better approach to this issue. Both of these also bills are pending in the Senate Labor Committee with extended deadlines to May 3rd.

    Equal Pay Act Protections Could be Extended to African Americans

    HB 4743 (Rep. Ford/Sen. Lightford) Amends the Equal Pay Act providing that no employer may discriminate between employees by paying wages to an African-American employee at a rate less than the rate at which the employer pays wages to another employee who is not African-American for the same or substantially similar work on a job that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility and is performed under similar working conditions.  Senate  Labor Committee.

    Biometric Privacy Act Proposal Stalled

    Illinois Chamber of Commerce initiative SB 3053 (Sen. Cunningham) exempts from the Biometric Privacy Act any private entity collecting, storing, or transmitting biometric information if: (i) the biometric information is used exclusively for employment, human resources, fraud prevention, or security purposes; (ii) the private entity does not sell, lease, trade, or similarly profit from the biometric identifier or biometric information collected; and (iii) the private entity stores, transmits, and protects the biometric identifiers and biometric information in a manner that is the same as or more protective than the manner in which the private entity stores, transmits, and protects other confidential and sensitive information. Two amendments supported by the Chamber are pending consideration by the Senate Democrat leadership. The first clarifies issues for the original bill. The second broadens the scope of relief beyond exempting HR and security uses.  Our measure was returned to the Senate Committee on Assignments. There is a meeting scheduled between opponents and proponents this week. We will continue to press for relief rom the litigation that this Act is creating for employers. 

    Changes to Wage Payment & Collection Act Passes the House with Agreed to Amendment

    HB 4324 (Rep. Welch) Amends the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act requiring the Department of Labor to adjudicate claims under the Act within 30 days. IDOL is required to request that an employer deposit up to 10% of a disputed wage claim with the Department pending adjudication of the claim. Increases the administrative fees imposed upon an employer who has been demanded or ordered by the Department of Labor or a court to a pay wage settlement. Authorizes the placement of a judgment lien upon and employer's real estate and authorizes action under the Code of Civil Procedure for a citation or a supplementary proceeding to discover assets. The original bill created a nightmare of regulation and potential liability for business owners. The broad, strong opposition of business interests led to a more reasonable approach that House Labor Chairman Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville) helped persuade the proponents to accept,

    Call Center Regulation Measure Passes House 61-49 Vote

    HB 4081 (Rep. Halpin/Sen. Jones) Creates the Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act which requires an employer that intends to relocate a call center or portions of a call center from Illinois to another state or a foreign country to provide notice to the State Treasurer at least 120 days before the relocation. Authorizes a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 for violations. Requires the Treasurer to compile and post on the Treasurer's website a list of employers that have relocated call centers. Requires an employer that relocates a call center from Illinois to another state or a foreign country to repay grants, loans, and tax benefits that may have been received. The legislation is in Senate Committee on Assignments.

    Agreed to Employee Expense Reimbursement Measure Passes Senate

    SB 2999 (Sen. Van Pelt)/Rep. Conyears-Ervin) Sen. Van Pelt worked with the Illinois Chamber on an agreed amendment. As amended, SB 2999 require an employer to reimburse an employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee directly related to services performed for the employer.  It requires that the expenditure must be within the scope of employment, authorized or required and appropriate documentation is provided. Any rules and interpretation of law must be consistent with federal law. The measure is in House Rules Committee. It needs additional work to avoid abuse that we will try to iron out in the House.

    Small Employers to be Covered Under State Employment Discrimination Law 

    HB 4572 (Rep. Guzzardi) Amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to redefine "employer" to include any person employing one (currently 15) or more employees within Illinois during 20 or more calendar weeks within the calendar year of or preceding the alleged violation. The Illinois Chamber opposes this measure. We are seeking a more comprehensive reform of the Human Rights Act that addresses the backlog of employment discrimination charges under the Human Rights Act. The legislation passed on a 64-37 vote. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

    Final Vote on Mandated Paid Sick Leave Measure Pending on House Floor

    HB 2771 (Rep. C. Mitchell/Sen. Hutchinson) requires employers to provide 40 hours of paid sick time. The bill exempts unionized construction companies, certain railroad employees, school districts, park districts, and City of Chicago sister agencies. An employee may earn sick days after 180 days of employment. If this measure should be approved, we will be pushing hard for a Gubernatorial veto. On House Calendar for Concurrence Senate Amendments 1 & 2 

    Worker' Compensation Measures

    SB 2863 (Sen. Raoul/Rep. Hoffman) Amends the Employer's Liability Rates Article of the Illinois Insurance Code. Provides that a rate is excessive if it is likely to produce a long run profit that is unreasonably high for the insurance provided or if expenses are unreasonably high in relation to the services rendered. Makes changes regarding competitive markets exists and disapproval of rates under specified circumstances. Amends the Workers' Compensation Act. Provides that accidental injuries sustained while traveling to or from work do not arise out of and in the course of employment. Permits an employer to file with the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission a workers' compensation safety program or a workers' compensation return to work program implemented by the employer. Provides that (i) injuries to the shoulder shall be considered injuries to part of the arm and (ii) injuries to the hip shall be considered injuries to part of the leg. Contains provisions concerning repetitive and cumulative injuries; permanent partial disability determinations; annual reports by the Commission concerning self-insurance for workers' compensation in Illinois; and duties of the Workers' Compensation Premium Rates Task Force. Makes additional changes to the Workers' Compensation Act. Provides for an evidence-based drug formulary. Requires an annual investigation of procedures covered for ambulatory surgical centers and the establishment of a fee schedule. Changes a waiting period for benefits for certain firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics. Changes compensation computations for subsequent injuries to the same part of the spine. The measure passed the Senate on a 34-21 voteIdentical to HB 2525 that was vetoed by Gov. Rauner last year. Sent to House Labor Committee.

    Rep. Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is seeking to create a state-backed workers' compensation insurer in HB 4595. The measure is identical to legislation vetoed by Governor Rauner last summer. The measure includes a $10 million loan from the IWCC Operations Fund. The fund is supported by fees paid by employers thru their WC insurance policies or directly by self-insured employers. $10 million represents one third of the Commission's budget. The measure was approved by the House on a 62-43 vote. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

    Marijuana Advisory Referendum Passes Senate

    SB 2275 (Sen. Cunningham/Rep. Hurley) Creates the Marijuana Legalization Referendum Act to require the State Board of Elections to place a statewide advisory public question to be submitted to the voters at the November 6, 2018 general election asking whether individuals support the legalization of possession and use of marijuana by persons of at least 21 years of age. The measure was approved by the Senate on a 37-13-1 vote. Assigned to House Executive Committee

    Volunteer Emergency Worker Definition Changes

    SB 2471 (Sen. Holmes/Rep Cavaletto) amends the Volunteer Emergency Worker Job Protection Act to provide that "volunteer emergency worker" means a person who serves as a member of a fire department of a fire protection district, municipality, or other unit of government on other than a full-time career basis and who meets the requirements for volunteer status under the Code of Federal Regulations and Opinion Letters from the United States Department of Labor. Provides that "volunteer emergency worker" also means, including, but not limited to, a person who serves on a volunteer basis and is licensed under the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems Act as an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR)(First Responder), Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Emergency Medical Technician-Intermediate (EMT-I), Advanced Emergency Medical Responder (A-EMT), or Paramedic (EMT-P), or a volunteer ambulance driver or attendant, and the person does not work in one of these capacities for another fire department, fire protection district, or governmental entity on a full-time career basis. The measure was approved by the Senate Labor Committee and is pending on the Senate floor. Senate passed the bill unanimously it is now in the House Rules Committee.

    New Service-Member Employment and Reemployment Rights

    SB 3547 (Sen. Tom Cullerton/Rep. Chapa LaVia)) Creates the Service-Member Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. Contains provisions concerning matters relevant to the employment rights of service-members, including employment protections, additional benefits for public employee members of a reserve component, prohibitions on discrimination, a notice of rights and duties, violations, enforcement, remedies, and rulemaking. Provides that the Attorney General shall appoint an Illinois Service-Member Employment and Reemployment Rights Act Advocate to carry out various duties related to the Act. Provides that in times of national or State emergency, the Governor may extend the protections of the Act. Limits the concurrent exercise of power by home rule units. Makes corresponding and related changes throughout the statutes. Repeals the Military Leave of Absence Act, the Public Employee Armed Services Rights Act, the Municipal Employees Military Active Duty Act, and the Local Government Employees Benefits Continuation Act. Amends the Service Member's Employment Tenure Act to change the short title to the Service Member's Tenure Act.  Senate approved the measure unanimously and it is now in House Rules Committee.

    Paid Break Time for Nursing Mothers Sent to the Senate

    HB 1595,sponsored by Rep. Stuart,  amended the Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act to require a paid break time rather than unpaid break time. It deletes an exception permitting employers to not provide break time if providing break time would unduly disrupt the employer's operations. The bill passed the House 104 to 0. 

    Governor Rauner Vetoes Power Grab Measure

    SB 193, sponsored by Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) and Rep. Hoffman, creates the Worker Protection Unit within the Office of the Illinois Attorney General to intervene in, initiate, enforce, and defend all criminal or civil legal proceedings on matters and violations relating to several statutes currently enforced by the Illinois Department of Labor. It also establishes the Worker Protection Task Force which is to submit a report to the Governor and the General Assembly regarding its progress no later than December 1, 2018.

    The Governor’s veto message was on target from our perspective. Here are portions of the message:

    “Today I veto Senate Bill 193 from the 100th General Assembly, which inappropriately usurps the authority of the Illinois Department of Labor (the “Department”) by conferring enforcement authority over many of the statutes it enforces to the Illinois Attorney General without clear cause or justification.


    The legislation purportedly seeks to combat the State of Illinois’ underground economy and establish the Worker Protection Task Force, goals that are admirable and of great importance to this administration and the Department. However, the way this bill addresses critical issues of workers’ rights is flawed and lacks consensus in its approach.


    The Department already enforces laws which protect workers from the pitfalls of the underground economy, including the Prevailing Wage Act, the Employee Classification Act, the Minimum Wage Law, the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act, and the Wage Payment and Collection Act.  This bill would create a new unit in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, a separate constitutional office that serves to represent the Department in court, to unilaterally and simultaneously enforce these same statutes without so much as consultation with the Department. Instead of creating a cooperative environment between the Executive Branch and the Attorney General to determine how best to navigate complex and important cases, this bill inappropriately creates opportunities for conflict and competition. 


    Further, while establishment of a Worker Protection Task Force to study the underground economy is a laudable goal, failure to appoint Task Force Members representing the Department and other key stakeholders will render this initiative far less productive than it could be.


    This administration is committed to fair and effective regulatory and administrative processes to ensure that workers across Illinois are being paid properly and treated according to their rights under the law and welcomes opportunities to participate in collaborative efforts to curb the underground economy.”


    Scheduling Proposals are Held

    HB 5046 (Rep. Welch) Creates the Fair Scheduling Act to require employers to provide work schedules to employees at least 72 hours before the start of the first shift of the work schedule and to provide pay when an employee's work shift is canceled or reduced within 72 hours of the beginning of the shift. Prohibits retaliation by employers when employees seek to enforce rights under the Act. Authorizes private actions for damages. Enforced through the Department of Labor. Re-referred to House Rules Committee. A companion proposal SB 202, amendment 1, sponsored by Sen. Castro was re-referred to the Senate Assignments Committee.



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