New laws affecting Illinois employers take effect January 1

December 12, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Steven L. Brenneman

Illinois employers need to be aware of a few new laws taking effect January 1.

Ban the box

One of the new laws, the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act, prohibits most private-sector employers and employment agencies with 15 or more employees from asking applicants about their criminal histories and conducting criminal background checks until after they are deemed qualified for a job.

Under the law, employers may not inquire about, consider, or require disclosure of an applicant’s criminal record or criminal history until he has been deemed qualified for a position and has been notified that he has been selected for an interview. If there is no interview, the employer may not inquire into the applicant’s criminal record or criminal history until after making a conditional offer of employment.

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Illinois employers need to prepare for same-sex marriage law

May 05, 2014 0 COMMENTS

Illinois’ same-sex marriage law, which was passed last fall, is set to take effect June 1. The new law will affect Illinois employers in various ways.

Employers will need to treat same-sex spouses the same way they treat opposite-sex spouses. This will have ramifications for employer-sponsored health plans with spousal coverage and retirement plans.

Also, employee leave policies will be affected. For example, the guarantees provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act for the serious health condition of a spouse will be available to same-sex spouses. Similarly, other leave or benefit policies relating to spouses and families (e.g., bereavement leave) will need to be administered consistently for opposite-sex and same-sex married employees.

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