Illinois has enacted legislation (House Bill 3582) that expands leave requirements and other protections under the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA). House Bill 3582 takes effect January 1, 2022.
Currently, the VESSA requires covered employers to provide leave to employees who are victims of domestic, gender, or sexual violence or who have family or household members who are victims of such crimes.
Employers with fewer than 15 employees must provide a total of 4 workweeks of unpaid leave. Employers with 15 to 49 employees must provide a total of 8 workweeks. Employers with 50 or more employees must provide a total of 12 workweeks.
Currently, employees are entitled to take such leave for themselves, family members, or household members to:
- Seek medical attention for, or recover from, physical or psychological injuries caused by domestic or sexual violence;
- Obtain services from a victim services organization;
- Receive psychological or other counseling;
- Participate in safety planning;
- Temporarily or permanently relocate;
- Take other actions to increase the safety or ensure economic security of the individual; or
- Seek legal assistance or remedies.
Currently, family members include a spouse, parent, son, daughter, other person related by blood or by present or prior marriage, and someone who shares a relationship through a son or daughter.
Employers are also required to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals who have limitations because they are victims of domestic, gender, or sexual violence. In addition, employers are prohibited from discriminating against individuals because of their actual or perceived status as a victim of violence, they took or requested leave, attended a court proceeding related to the crime, or they requested a reasonable accommodation.
House Bill 3582:
Reasons for Leave:
House Bill 3582 amends the VESSA to also entitle employees to take such leave if they are victims of “any other crime of violence,” which includes the following crimes under the state’s Criminal Code:
- Sexual offenses
- Bodily harm
- Harassment and obscene communications
- Armed violence
Definition of Family/Household Members:
House Bill 3582 also amends and expands the definition of covered family and household members. Beginning January 1, 2022, covered family and household members will include a:
- Spouse or party to a civil union;
- Sibling; or
- Any other person related by blood or by present or prior marriage or civil union, or who shares a relationship through a child, or any other individual whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.
House Bill 3582 amends and clarifies the law’s certification provisions. In general, employers may require the employee to provide certification to the employer that:
- The employee or the employee's family or household member is a victim of domestic, sexual or gender violence, or any other crime of violence; and
- The leave is for one of the purposes covered by the law.
An employee may satisfy the certification requirement by providing a sworn statement, and if the employee has possession of one of the following documents, the employee must provide it:
- Documentation from an employee, agent, or volunteer of a victim services organization, an attorney, a member of the clergy, or a medical or other professional from whom the employee or the employee's family or household member has sought assistance;
- A police or court record; or
- Other corroborating evidence.
The employee may choose which document to submit, and the employer is prohibited from requesting or requiring that more than one document be submitted during the same 12-month period leave is requested or taken if the reason for leave is related to the same incident of violence or the same perpetrator of the violence.
House Bill 3582 also extends the nondiscrimination provisions to include victims of any other crime of violence.
Employees are also entitled to a reasonable accommodation for limitations related to being a victim of domestic, sexual or gender violence, or any other crime of violence or a family or household member being a victim of the same. Accommodations may include:
- An adjustment to a job structure, workplace facility, or work requirement, including a transfer, reassignment, modified schedule, or leave;
- A changed telephone number or seating assignment;
- Installation of a lock, or implementation of a safety procedure;
- Assistance in documenting an incident that occurs at the workplace or in work-related settings; or
- Any other reasonable accommodation in response to actual or threatened domestic, sexual, or gender violence, or any other crime of violence.
Illinois employers should review policies and practices to ensure that they comply with the changes made by House Bill 3582. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.