By: Alexander J. Mezny

The Illinois Sick Leave Act (the “Act”) requires businesses to allow use of existing sick leave to care for certain family members. Only one year old, the Act has already been expanded to include step-children and domestic partners (it already covered the employee’s child, spouse, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent).

The Act has also been amended to allow an employer to request written verification of the employee’s absence from a health care professional only if verification is required under the employer’s written policy. The amendment exempts certain employers, most notably unionized employers but also some rail employees and those subject to the Federal Employers Liability Act.

The amendment also clarifies the Act does not apply to long term disability, short term disability, insurance policies, or other comparable plans or policies. Employers who offer “honor system” sick time should consider drafting a formal policy to cap the time off available for relatives’ illnesses. All employers should consider requiring written verification from a health care professional of all substantial sick leaves.

Please feel free to contact our Employment Law Group with any questions you may have concerning the Illinois Sick Leave Act or any issues relating to your workplace policies.