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Pay Practices / Payroll

    Payment of Wages

    Employees cannot be forced to accept a form of payment that requires use of a personal bank account.

    Employees may, nonetheless, volunteer to be paid by direct deposit in an account at a bank or financial institution of their choice.


    Absent an exemption (e.g., executive, administrative and professional employees - as defined under the Fair Labor Standards Act), employees' wages should be paid at least semi-monthly.

    Payment should be made within 13 days after the pay period ends. Commissions, however, need only be paid on a monthly basis.

    Pay Rate Notifications

    An employer must notify an employee of a reduction in the employee's pay rate prior to the employee actually performing the work. If the employee must be paid minimum wage, the reduction may not cause the employee to be paid less than the applicable minimum wage rate.

    Also, prior to reducing employees' wages, HR should confirm the reduction is permissible under the terms of any applicable collective bargaining agreement or employment contract.

    Wage Deductions

    Only certain wage deductions are allowed under Illinois law. Deductions may be made when:

    • Required by law (e.g., taxes);
    • The deduction is to the benefit of the employee (e.g., health insurance premiums, union dues etc.);
    • A valid wage assignment or wage deduction order is in effect;
    • The deduction is made with the employee's express written consent and is given freely at the time the deduction is made.

    Deductions for work-related items such a uniforms and tools are not permissible.

    Each pay period, employees must receive an itemized list of deductions, if any.

    Health Care Continuation

    Illinois' state continuation law, or its mini-COBRA law, requires group health plans issued to employers to allow eligible separated employees to continue health care coverage for up to 12 months.

    Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

    Minimum Wage

    Illinois' Minimum Wage Law applies to employers with four or more employees. The state minimum wage is $8.25 per hour for individuals age 18 years and older. There are exemptions, and exceptions exist for tipped employees and employees under 18 years old.


    Nonexempt employees are entitled to pay at one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay if they work more than 40 hours in a workweek.

    Rest Breaks

    State law does not require rest break periods for employees.

    Meal Breaks

    An employee who is to work seven and one-half continuous hours or more must be provided a 20-minute meal period. The meal period should be provided within five hours of the employee beginning work.

    Breastfeeding Breaks

    An employer with more than five employees (excluding immediate family members) must provide nursing mothers reasonable unpaid break time each day to express breast milk for their infant children, unless providing such breaks would unduly disrupt operations. A covered employer also must make reasonable efforts to provide a room or location, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the work area, where an employee can express milk in privacy.

    One Day Rest in Seven Act

    The One Day Rest in Seven Act provides certain employees with at least 24 hours of rest in every calendar week. There are exemptions (i.e., part-time employees, security guards, etc.).

    Child Labor

    Child labor laws in Illinois restrict the occupations in which minors may be employed and the number of hours and times during which they may work.

    Minors under 16 years of age are prohibited from working in a variety of occupations. Illinois state law allows minors to work more hours per week than the federal law's 18-hour limit. Illinois requires employers hiring minors under 16 years of age to obtain an employment certificate and make it available for inspection by the Illinois Department of Labor.

    Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.