2020 Session to Kick-Off
The General Assembly returns to Springfield for the beginning of the 2020 legislative session on January 28, 2020. The deadline for bill introduction is February 14th.
The Senate is holding a Special Session on January 19th to elect a new Senate President as Senate President John Cullerton announced his retirement from the Senate. The election of a new Senate President could mean changes in the Senate Democrat leadership team, possible staff changes, changes to committee chairs and membership. I anticipate a slow start by the Senate until these issues get sorted out.
Workers' Compensation Commission Approves Rule Regarding EOB
The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission approved its regulation regarding the mandate placed on the Commission by PA 100-1117 to set the standard for necessary data elements to be included in a payor's Explanation of Benefits to be issued upon denial of a bill. The final rule likely will be printed in the January 24th Illinois Register and be effective upon publication. The Council supported the Commission's rule.
IDES Rule Establishes a Penalty for Employer Failure to Timely Respond
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) proposed rule to implement the provisions of Section 706 of the Unemployment Insurance Act, which require noncharging of overpaid unemployment benefits for employers that fail to respond timely or adequately to a request from the Department for information relating to a claim for benefits if the employer has a pattern of untimely or inadequate responses to such requests.
The proposed rule was published in the January 3rd Illinois Register and comments to IDES will be accepted until February 17th. The Council's Unemployment Insurance Committee will be reviewing the rule and providing commentary to IDES as appropriate.
Council Tackles Key 2020 Legislative Issues
Looking at employment law issues for this coming session the Council and its Committees are focusing on a number of key issues.
Employment Law & Litigation Committee:
the Council working with other business groups are recommending changes to
. Briefly, our proposal makes the following changes:
1) Retains 40 hour paid sick time mandate, but provides greater flexibility for employer compliance;
2) Employer definition the same as Wage Payment & Collection Act and limiting to Illinois employers of 25 or more and to Illinois employees;
3) Preemption of similar local ordinances;
4) Clarifies the calculation of how leave is earned, whether it can be carried-over and how an illness is certified;
5) Clarifies that the new Act does not provide additional time off for VESSA or the Federal FMLA;
6) Reduces statute of limitations from 3 to 2 years, removes punitive damages from remedies and provide recovery of legal fees for employers when faced with a frivolous or meritless claim determined in a civil action at circuit court;
7) Repeal of the Employee Sick Leave Act; and
8) Effective date of January 1, 2021.
In response to
a measure that creates the Employee Background Fairness Act and prohibits an employer from refusing to hire an individual and discharging an individual because of the individual's criminal history unless the individual has one or more convictions and there is a direct relationship between one of more of an individual's convictions and the specific employment sought. An individual denied or discharged from employment because of his or her criminal history in violation of the Act may recover from the employer in a civil action: (1) damages in the amount of $2,000 or actual damages, whichever is greater; (2) costs and reasonable attorney's fees as allowed by the court; and (3) any other appropriate relief, including punitive damages.
Because of the many concerns with HB3056, we have developed a counterproposal that amends the "Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act". This law which went into effect January 1, 2015 is a more appropriate place for amendments regarding expanded limits regarding use of criminal convictions by employers instead of another new Act.
Rep. Bob Morgan (D-Deerfield) will be introducing a proposal to prohibit an employer from taking action against an employee for solely using medicinal marijuana. We are working on a proposal with him that would also: 1) exclude safety sensitive jobs; 2) require written notification by the employee to the employer of their being a registered, qualified medicinal patient; and 3) clarify that the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act does not apply to employees covered by employer drug testing policies.
Employee Expenses Reimbursement...
the Council has a proposal to clarify Section 9.5 of the
Illinois Wage Payment & Collection Act
This section was added in the 2018 legislative session and went into effect January 1, 2019. One clarification addresses the issue of when an employer may be liable for employee expenses when the employee works at home/offsite. The other change requires employers to reimburse with 30 days of written receipt of necessary expenditures incurred by the employee.
the Council will continue to fight for the reforms that were introduced last year by Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva), Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee), Rep. Tom Bennet (R-Gibson City) and Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington).
No appeal bond if insured (Bennett)
Credit for prior spinal injuries (Bennet)
Requires pain management agreements between physician and worker
back 2005 PPD benefit increases
Adjusts medical reimbursement to reflect national averages
Creates an evidenced-based drug formulary (Ugaste)
Requires employment to significantly caused or contributed to injury (Ugaste)
Rolls back 2005 benefit increases
Credits for prior PPD injuries (Ugaste)
Comprehensive reform changes (Barickman)