In addition to our regular duties defending employers and insurers across the Midwest, I&F maintains a dedicated Legislative Watch Group that stays up to date on all relevant legislative and administrative matters in the jurisdictions in which we practice.
Although we are still waiting for a state budget(!), Illinois legislators are managing to stay busy and pass a multitude of bills, some of which could affect our readers. On January 1, 2017, 192 new laws went into effect. Here is a brief rundown of some of the recent legislation related to Employers, Insurance and general business matters:
HB 6162 creates the Employee Sick Leave Act allowing employees to use personal sick leave benefits for absences due to an illness, injury, or medical appointment of an employee’s direct family members.
HB 3554 directs the Department of Labor (DOL) to conduct a good faith search to find aggrieved employees harmed by unpaid wages so they may recover what they are owed. If the DOL cannot locate the aggrieved employee, then the Department can deposit the amount recovered into a specified DOL fund.
SB 3163 creates the Illinois Freedom to Work Act and provides that no employer shall enter into a covenant not to compete with any low-wage employee defined as a wage earner making the greater of the applicable minimum wage or $13 per hour.
SB 2813 amends the Coal Mining Act by modifying mine safety standards in Illinois to be more in line those of our surrounding states, in an effort to make Illinois more competitive with surrounding states.
HB 4633 requires all authorized insurers in Illinois to locate and pay beneficiaries’ proceeds under unclaimed life insurance policies, annuity contracts, and retained asset accounts issued in the State or remit such proceeds to the Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division.
It is also important to note that the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission recently adopted amendments to and new parts for its administrative rules. While too numerous to list here, the amended rules allow the IWCC to better serve its purpose in a more efficient, effective, fair and neutral manner. The administrative rules are the framework in which the Commission operates on a daily basis.
Thanks to Legislative Watch Group member Frank Johnston for providing the above summary. Frank practices out of I&F’s Champaign office.