What Do I Need to Know about Illinois’ New Work Rest Requirements?

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Work Break

Changes to Illinois’ One Day Rest in Seven Act (ODRISA) will take effect on January 1, 2023. Lawmakers voted this past May to make changes to the Act’s substantive provisions, and added increased penalties to incentivize compliance.

The modifications will impact both employers and most non-exempt employees. Several particular groups of workers will not be covered by the new amendments, such as part-time workers who perform less than 20 hours of work per week.

There are numerous changes that both employers and employees should be aware of. Below are the top 10 take-aways:

  1. Break requirements: employers must provide two 20-minute breaks to employees working a 12-hour shift. Previously, they only had to provide one 20-minute break on a 7.5-hour shift.
  1. 24-hour rest period: employees cannot work more than 6 days in a row. They are entitled to one 24-hour rest period within 7 consecutive days, instead of one calendar week.
  1. Remote workers: remote employees otherwise not exempted from the Act are covered by it just as in-person workers are.
  1. Violation classification: a violation of ODRISA is no longer considered a petty offense but a civil offense.
  1. Violation penalties: the penalties for violations of ODRISA are enhanced from a range of $25 to $100 per offense to a range of $250 to $500 per offense, depending on the size of the employer. An offense is any single instance where the employer did not provide either 24 hours of rest in a week or did not provide a meal break.
  1. Damages: now, in addition to civil penalties that are paid to the Illinois Department of Labor (“IDOL”), an employee may recover damages up to $250 for employers of fewer than 25 employees, and up to $500 for employers of 25 or more employees.
  1. Notice requirement: all employers must post notice of ODRISA rights to employees in a physical workplace, on an accessible website, or by email. A copy of the poster can be accessed on the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) website here.
  1. Notice penalty: failure to comply with ODRISA’s notice requirement could result in penalties ranging from $250 to $500.
  1. Enforcement: ODRISA is enforced by the IDOL under the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act. Any complaint must be filed with the IDOL. A complaint form can be found here.
  1. Who can bring a suit? There is still no private right of action to enforce ODRISA in court. Enforcement must be accomplished through the IDOL.

If you would like to learn more about ODRISA, consult the IDOL’s page dedicated to the law here or its FAQ page here. The full text of the Act can be found here. As always, contact an experienced employment attorney if you have concerns about your business obligations or employment rights.