On August 27, 2021, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Consumer Coverage Disclosure Act (SB 1905), applicable to employers that provide group health insurance coverage to their in-state employees. These employers must give all employees who are eligible for group health insurance:
● A written list of the covered benefits included in its group health insurance coverage; and
● The list must compare—in an easily understandable format—the employer-offered benefits with the state’s essential health benefits.
Employers must give employees this information upon hire, annually, and when requested. It may be sent to employees via email or posted on the employer’s website that employees regularly access.
The law took effect immediately.
Indoor Mask Mandate Returns
On August 26, 2021, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed COVID-19 Executive Order No. 87 requiring all Illinois residents over two years old to wear a mask in all indoor settings beginning Monday, August
30. The indoor mask requirement applies to vaccinated and unvaccinated residents statewide. Masks are not required outdoors, but they are strongly encouraged in crowded outdoor settings—like festivals and concerts—and during activities that require close contact with people who are not
Masks may be removed temporarily when actively eating or drinking (including in bars or restaurants), and may be removed by workers at workplaces when they can consistently maintain six feet of distance (such as when workers are in their office or cubicle space).
Everyone, including people who are fully vaccinated, must wear a mask:
● On planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation and in transportation hubs such as airports and train and bus stations;
● In correctional facilities and homeless shelters; and
● In health care settings.
Entities can—and are encouraged to—implement vaccination or testing requirements for personnel, contractors, and other visitors that exceed the requirements of Order No. 87. The order includes specific requirements for health care workers, school personnel, higher education personnel, and
The order took immediate effect.
Updates to Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act
On August 20, 2021, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed legislation (HB 3582) amending the state’s Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act, which allows employees to take unpaid leave when they or members of their family or household are victims of violence. The law expands the definition of victim to include an individual who has been subjected to any crime of violence, not just domestic violence, sexual violence, or gender violence. It also expands covered family or household members to include:
● A party to a civil union.
● Grandparents, children, grandchildren, and siblings.
● Any other person related to the employee by blood or by present or prior marriage or civil union.
● Any other person who shares a relationship with the employee through a child.
● Any other individual whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship as determined by the employee.
● Persons jointly residing in the same household.
The law specifically removes references to son or daughter; instead, it uses the term “child” and allows employees to choose whether they submit either a police or court record or other corroborating evidence to their employer. Employers can’t request or require that more than one document be
The law also expands protections against workplace discrimination even when it is based on an individual being perceived as a victim of violence and requires employers to make any type of reasonable workplace accommodation in response to actual or threatened violence. All information provided to the employer—including a statement of the employee or any other documentation, record, or corroborating evidence, and the fact that the employee has requested or obtained an
accommodation—must be kept strictly confidential, except when its disclosure is:
● Requested or consented to in writing by the employee; or
● Otherwise required by applicable federal or state law.
The law is effective January 1, 2022.
Limitations on Noncompete and Nonsolicit Agreements
On August 13, 2021, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed legislation (SB 672) amending the state’s Freedom to Work Act by prohibiting noncompete and nonsolicit agreements between all employees and employers unless:
● For noncompetes, the employee’s actual or expected earnings are more than $75,000 per year beginning January 1, 2022, $80,000 per year beginning on January 1, 2027, $85,000 per year beginning on January 1, 2032, and $90,000 per year beginning on January 1, 2037.
● For nonsolicits, the employee’s actual or expected earnings are more than $45,000 per year beginning January 1, 2022, $47,500 per year beginning on January 1, 2027, $50,000 per year beginning on January 1, 2032, and $52,500 per year beginning on January 1, 2037.
Even if those terms are met, both agreements are illegal and void unless:
● The employee works for the employer for at least two years after they enter the agreement, or the employer otherwise gave enough consideration to support the agreement. Consideration can be a period of employment plus additional professional or financial benefits, or just the benefits if they
● The agreement is secondary to a valid employment relationship, isn’t more than what is required to protect the employer’s legitimate business interests, doesn’t impose undue hardship on the employee, and isn’t publicly harmful.
Employees must be informed about their obligations under any noncompete or nonsolicit agreement. It must be in writing and given to them at least 14 calendar days before they start work and with at least 14 calendar days to review it. Employers must also advise them to consult with an attorney
before agreeing to it.
Additional restrictions added by the law:
● Employers can’t enter into a noncompete or nonsolicit with any employee who was terminated, laid off, or furloughed because of COVID-19 or a similar pandemic situation. The exception is if the agreement provides an employee with pay that is equal to their base salary when they were
terminated minus any money they earned from their work when the noncompete or nonsolicit was in effect.
● Noncompetes are prohibited for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement and those working in construction, except for construction employees that are primarily working in management, engineering or architecture, design, or sales, or who are shareholders, partners, or owners in any capacity of the employer.
The law is effective January 1, 2022.
Discussing an Applicant’s Unvested Equity or Deferred
On August 6, 2021, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed legislation (HB 1207) amending the state’s Equal Pay Act by clarifying that the law doesn’t prohibit employers and applicants from discussing an applicant’s unvested equity or deferred compensation that would be lost if they resign from their
current employer. If this is discussed, voluntarily and without prompting, the employer can ask the applicant to verify the total amount they would lose by submitting a letter or document with either the name of their current employer or the business that controls the funds.
The law is effective January 1, 2022.
Human Rights Act Expanded for DACA Recipients
On August 2, 2021, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed legislation (HB 121) amending the state’s Human Rights Act to expand protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients
by adding a new definition for work authorization status. Under the amended law, employers can’t refuse to hire, segregate, or harass someone based on their work authorization status, which is when they are born outside of the U.S., are not a U.S. citizen, and are authorized by the federal
government to work in the United States.
The law is effective immediately.