Late last summer, Governor Rauner signed House Bill 3554 into law. The new law, which went into effect on January 1, made crucial changes to the Wage Payment and Collection Act. According to this law, the Department of Labor (DOL), must conduct a good faith search to find employees whose employers violated the state wage and hour laws and return all unpaid wages to them.
The Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act
Under the Wage Payment and Collection Act, Illinois employers are required to notify employees about the rate of pay, as well as the time and place of payment when the employee is first hired. The notification should be in writing and acknowledged by both parties. Employers are also required by law to keep records of wages paid each payday and must furnish each employee with an itemized statement of deductions from his or her wages.
According to Illinois law, all employers must pay employees at least semi-monthly and if there is a dispute over wages, the employer is required to pay, without condition, all wages conceded by him or her to be due. However, the law also states that just because an employee accepts a disputed paycheck, it does not mean that he or she has released the balance of the claim. Instead, the employee must be allowed to seek a remedy through approved channels.
The law also authorized employees to file a complaint with the Department alleging any violations by submitting a wage claim application. The Department is then allowed to investigate and attempt to solve any conflicts between the parties.
House Bill 3554
Under the terms of the new law, once the DOL determines that an employer has violated the Wage Payment and Collection Act, it is required to make a good faith search to find all aggrieved employees who did not receive their wages in accordance with minimum wage and hour laws. Once these employees have been located, the DOL is required to remit to them the amounts owed to them in unpaid wages, wage supplements, and final compensation.
In the event that a particular employee cannot be found, the Department is directed to deposit the amount owed to the wronged employee in a Special State Trust Fund. Aggrieved employees who were not located can then file a request with the DOL to collect the money owed to them out of the trust fund. Furthermore, the DOL is prohibited from asking the employee for a Social Security Number or proof of U.S. citizenship in order to recover money from the fund.
Contact us Today to Speak With an Experienced Employment Dispute Attorney in Chicago
Employers who violate state or federal wage and hour laws are required to repay the employees what they are owed. With the passage of the new law, the DOL has created a way for aggrieved employees who have since left their jobs to collect their lost wages. If you have questions about how to pursue your own wrongfully withheld wages, please contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline at (312) 558-1454 to speak with an experienced employment dispute attorney who can evaluate your case.