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Your Rights Filing a Wage and Hour Claim - Illinois

Outten & Golden LLP

Does Illinois have state overtime laws that are different from federal law?

Under Illinois law, employers must pay employees at a rate of one and one-half the employee's regular hourly wage for working more than forty hours in one week.

Some employees are exempt from the overtime requirement. Employees engaged in administrative, executive, professional, outside sales or agricultural activities are exempt from the overtime requirement. Additionally, the following employees are exempt from the overtime requirement:

  • Salesmen and mechanics involved in selling or servicing cars, trucks or farm implements at dealerships
  • Government employees
  • Radio or television station employees in certain cities
  • Participants in work place exchange agreements
  • Educational or residential child care institution employees
  • Commissioned employees

Does Illinois have a minimum wage that is different from federal law?

The current minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 per hour. Employees under the age of 18 may be paid at a lower rate per hour. Employees who do not receive tips may be paid $7.75 for their first 90 days with their employer.

Generally, employers cannot use other costs of employment to decrease the minimum wage required. Employers cannot decrease the minimum wage by the cost to provide and maintain uniforms. Employers, however, can use tips and gratuities to reduce the minimum wage required to $4.95 per hour. Employers can also reduce the minimum wage by the cost of meals and lodging if the employee receives them and the employer customarily provides them.

The following employees are exempt from the minimum wage requirement:

  • Certain agricultural employees
  • Employees of employers with fewer than four employees
  • Domestic service workers
  • Outside salespeople
  • Certain religious employees
  • Work-study students
  • Motor carrier employees
  • Camp counselors

Does Illinois have meal and rest break requirements, unlike federal law?

Illinois has a meal break requirement, but no rest break requirements. Employees must be given a 20 minute unpaid meal break if they are working 7.5 hours or longer. The meal break must occur no later than 5 hours into the shift.

How do I file a wage/hour or labor standards claim in Illinois?

You can file a claim with the wage claims division of the Illinois Department of Labor. This can be done by filling out a Minimum Wage and Overtime Claim Application available at http://www.state.il.us/agency/idol/forms/pdfs/FLSMWO01.PDF. The filing should include as much information and documentation as possible. This process can be completed with or without an attorney.

Additional information on filing a wage claim is available at http://www.state.il.us/agency/idol/forms/pdfs/FLSMWO04.PDF.

What are my time deadlines?

If you have a wage/hour complaint, do not delay in contacting the Department of Labor to file a claim. There are strict time limits in which wage claims must be filed. In order for the agency to act on your behalf, you must file the complaint within five years from the date that the claim arose. In order to file a private lawsuit, however, you must file the complaint within in three years.

As you might have other legal claims with shorter deadlines, do not wait to file your claim until your time limit is close to expiring. You may wish to consult with an attorney prior to filing your claim, if possible. Yet if you are unable to find an attorney who will assist you, it is not necessary to have an attorney to file your claim.

How can I or my attorney pursue a claim in court in Illinois?

In Illinois, an employee can file a private lawsuit to recover unpaid wages, penalties, punitive damages, attorney's fees and costs.

State Labor Agency

Illinois Department of Labor
Fair Labor Standards Division
160 North La Salle, Suite C-1300
Chicago, IL 60601-3150
Ph: 312-793-2804
Fax: 312-814-1210
Web: www.state.il.us/agency/idol/


This material was originally prepared by attorney Joseph Jaramillo and former law clerks Keia Cole and Adam Weiss of the law firm Goldstein, Demchak Baller Borgen and Dardarian, and was updated by Professor Douglas D. Scherer, of Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center. Professor Scherer also serves as the Vice President of Workplace Fairness.

This page was updated on July 9, 2012

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