There is no Illinois state law requiring private employers to provide employees sick leave, paid or unpaid, although many employers do grant it as an important employee benefit. It is important to remember however, that if sick leave is promised, an employer may have a legal obligation to grant it (820 ILCS 115/5).
Some courts have held that, under certain circumstances, policies published in employee handbooks may constitute implied contracts, which are binding and enforceable. Employers should regularly review policy statements made in handbooks or elsewhere to ensure that they accurately reflect current policies. If not, they should be changed, and employees should be notified of the changes.
Effective January 1, 2017, the Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act allows employees to use employer-provided personal sick leave to care for an ill or injured family member or to attend a medical appointment with a family member.
“Family members” defined. Eligible “family members” are defined as a child (biological, adopted, stepchild, or legal ward), spouse, sibling, parent, mother- or father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent.
Limitations. This law applies to Illinois employers that currently maintain internal sick leave policies. Leave may be taken under the same terms for which the employee would be permitted to take leave for his or her own illness or injury. Employers are not required to provide additional leave benefits, though employers may certainly provide more generous leave benefits if desired.
Employers may limit the use of family care sick leave to an amount equivalent to 6 months of accrued leave under the employer’s standard sick ...