The Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) has just released new Guidelines for dealing with compensation that an employer may owe to employees in the context of vaccinations for the COVID-19 virus. Depending on whether and employer mandates that employees get vaccinated as a condition to return to or continue work holds the key to whether or not employees may be compensated for the time off to get the vaccine. The Guidelines fall into 2 categories: (1) Mandatory Vaccination Programs; and (2) Optional Vaccination Programs.
Mandatory Vaccination Programs: If an employer requires employees to get vaccinated, then pursuant to the Illinois Minimum Wage Law as well as the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, then the time the employee spends getting the vaccine is most likely considered compensable time (even if the employee gets the vaccine during non-working time.) This also takes into account time taken to receive 2 doses of the vaccine if that is the method of choice as opposed to a single dose vaccine.
Optional Vaccination Programs: An employee that chooses to receive the vaccine voluntarily (i.e. not under any mandate from the employer), then the IDOL advises that they should be allowed to use sick leave, vacation time or other paid time off to receive the vaccine. If an employer does not offer any of these options, then the employer should allow the employee the flexibility to take time off unpaid in order to receive the vaccine.
Don’t forget the operation of the Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act which allows employees to use sick leave benefits for absences to take family members to an appointment to receive the Covid-19 vaccine as well.
As you can see, there are a number of questions and areas of potential uncertainty brought about by this national health crisis which can dramatically affect employment. We are here to help guide you through these turbulent times. A law firm that concentrates in employment related matters like ours can help navigate this maze of new laws. With over 36 years’ experience in advising employers and employees on workplace issues, let Boznos Law work with you to ensure you are ready to meet the challenges posed by the changes to the employment laws. Call Bill Boznos today at (630) 375-1958 or contact us at through our website at www.boznoslawoffice.com.