In 2017, workers could see a variety of changes take effect that pertain to worker safety, labor and employment laws throughout Illinois and the rest of the nation.The changes could have a significant effect on employees, workplace safety, injured workers and their families, and employers in the very near future.
OSHA Reporting Rule
On January 1, 2017 a new rule by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) took effect that requires employers to electronically report certain information that they are already required to record on OSHA forms. The actual information required to be submitted varies depending on the type of industry and the size of the company. The data reported will be used to help OSHA more effectively utilize its compliance assistance and enforcement resources. Additionally, OSHA will publicly disclose some of the reported data to encourage employers to enhance workplace safety, reduce workplace injuries and fatalities, and to provide information to job seekers, current employees and the general public.
OSHA Walking-Working Surfaces Standards
On January 17, 2017 new rules took effect that are designed to help protect workers from slip, trip and fall hazards in the workplace. The rules include updated employer requirements for training and inspections as well as for the use of personal fall protection systems.
Illinois Sick Leave
Employers who provide sick leave for their workers are now required to allow their employees to use that leave to provide care for injured or ill family members. Under the law, the term “family members” may include the employees child, spouse, parent or grandparent, parent-in-law, sibling or step-parent. The law became effective as of January 1, 2017.
Sick Leave for Federal Contractors
Beginning January 1, 2017 federal contractors who enter into or extend certain federal government contracts are required to provide some workers with paid sick leave each year for absences related to preventative care, illness or injury, care of an ill or injured family member, or domestic violence and related proceedings.
Child Bereavement in Illinois
Effective July 29, 2016 employees became entitled to receive two weeks unpaid leave to give them time to grieve the loss of a child or step-child. To be eligible, employees must be employed for a minimum of 12 continuous months and have worked at least 1,250 hours within the last year. Only employers with 50 or more employees are included in the Act.