Some states have comprehensive laws that require employers to grant employees time off for the birth or adoption of a child or to care for a family member with a serious illness, but Illinois does not have such a law for private employers. However, most Illinois employers with 50 or more employees will be covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
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 leave policy. The Act does not require employers to extend the maximum period of leave allowed under the federal FMLA.
Paid time off (PTO). Employers that maintain general PTO policies are not required to modify those policies if employees are already permitted to use PTO to care for eligible family members’ healthcare needs.