Stricter Requirements Added to Illinois Domestic Worker Bill of Rights

Jun 2, 2022 | Domestic Workers' Rights, GTM Blog, Labor Laws


Day of rest and meal break amendments to Illinois’ One Day Rest in Seven Act (ODRISA) have big implications for household employment in the state. ORDISA is one of four bills that make up the state’s Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. Here’s what household employers need to know to avoid the increased penalties for violations of the law.

Last month Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law amendments to the One Day Rest in Seven Act (ODRISA), which is one of four bills that make up the state’s Domestic Worker Bill of Rights.

The amendments, which take effect on January 1, 2023, address both days of rest and meal break requirements for employees in the state including those who work in a home like nannies, senior caregivers, and housekeepers.

For household employers, review your scheduling practices and make sure your nanny contract or work agreement and employee handbooks are updated by the end of the year to reflect these changes.

Day of rest under ODRISA

The amendments revise when employees must receive a day of rest. Right now, workers must be provided one day of rest within any given calendar week (Sunday-Saturday). That means a nanny could receive a Sunday off, work the rest of that week, and the first six days of the following week before receiving Saturday off resulting in 12 consecutive days of work but fulfilling the one day off in a calendar week requirement.

However, starting in 2023, employees must receive one day of rest in “every consecutive seven-day period.” Families will need to ensure they provide a day of rest to their workers every rolling seven days.

A household employer could try to obtain a waiver from the Illinois Department of Labor to allow their employee to work more than six consecutive days.

Meal breaks under ODRISA

The amendments also change when meal breaks should occur. Currently, a 20-minute unpaid meal break must be provided for every 7.5 hours worked. The break must be provided within the first five hours of work.

The new provisions state that a 20-minute unpaid meal break must be provided for the first 7.5 hours worked and then an additional 20-minute break for every 4.5 hours worked after that initial 7.5-hour period.

Essentially, the hours worked to receive a second meal break drop from 15 hours (7.5 hours + 7.5 hours) to 12 hours (7.5 hours + 4.5 hours).

For some household employees – like nannies and senior caregivers – taking a mandatory meal break may not be feasible as they care for others. The amendments don’t address waivers of meal periods. However, the law requires that families only “permit” their employees to take meal breaks. Workers can voluntarily choose to work through a meal period. If your household employee volunteers to skip required meal breaks, make sure this is clearly stated in your nanny contract or work agreement. Since employees can now recover damages for missed meal breaks, ensure there is sufficient documentation that it was your worker’s choice to skip these periods.

Penalties for violations of ODRISA

Penalties for violating ODRISA will increase. Currently, a violation is just a petty offense with a fine of up to $100 for each offense. Under the amendments, effective in 2023, violations will be considered civil offenses with fines up to $250 for each offense (for employers with fewer than 25 workers).

An offense includes each week an employee is not allowed 24 hours of rest within a seven-day period, and each day that a worker is not provided a required meal period. An offense “shall be determined on an individual basis for each employee whose rights are violated.”

Also, a household employer who violates ODRISA will also be required to pay damages of up to $250 per offense to affected workers. Under current law, employees have no right to recover any damages for a violation of ODRISA.

Employees, however, do not have a private right of action under the amendments.

ODRISA posting requirements

Household employers will be required to post a notice summarizing ODRISA’s requirements including information on how to file a complaint with the state’s department of labor. The new notice will be provided by the labor department.

Failure to provide this notice will be considered a civil offense and subject to a penalty of no more than $250.

ODRISA exemption

These requirements don’t apply to part-time employees who work 20 hours or less in a week.

GTM can help

Did you know GTM Payroll Services does more than process payroll and taxes? We can also provide human resources support to household employers to help them remain compliant with labor laws like domestic worker protection requirements. HR support can be included with your payroll service when you choose EasyPay HR Platinum. Or in addition to payroll and taxes with our Household HR Services. Either way, PHR-certified HR advisors can help you navigate the labor laws that control how you hire, employ, and terminate household employees. To learn more, call (800) 929-9213 for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a household employment expert. Or schedule time with us at your convenience.

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