January 26, 2023

New Year, New Employment Laws in Illinois

“Nothing Endures But Change” said the ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, and his prophetic words apply to new Illinois laws impacting employers and employees in 2023.


The Illinois One Day Rest In Seven Act (ODRISA) provides employees with a day of rest in each workweek and meal or rest breaks during daily work shifts.

The 2023 amendments to ODRISA redefine the period in which an employee is entitled to “twenty-four consecutive hours of rest” and include new meal break and employer notice obligations. The law also increases penalties on employers that violate the meal and rest break requirements.

Now, ODRISA applies to any employee who works six consecutive days, regardless of whether the employee’s schedule aligns with a Sunday to Saturday calendar workweek.  Thus, an employer must provide at least twenty-four consecutive hours of rest in every consecutive seven-day period.

Additional Meal Period Required for Shifts over 12 Hours

The amendment requires employers to provide “[a]n employee who works in excess of 7½ continuous hours [with] . . . an additional 20-minute meal period for every additional 4½ continuous hours worked,” and further clarifies that “a meal period does not include reasonable time spent using the restroom facilities.” Thus, an employee who works a 12-hour shift will now be entitled to two unpaid meal periods.

New Notice Requirements

The 2023 amendments further require employers to “conspicuously” post at the workplace a notice provided by the Illinois director of labor summarizing the requirements of ODRISA and information regarding filing a complaint.


The Family Bereavement Leave Act covers public and private employers with at least 50 employees and employees who have worked 1,250 hours for the employer during the prior 12-month period (similar to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.)

Expanded Leave Requirements

Per the 2023 amendments, covered Illinois employers must provide up to 10 workdays of unpaid leave to employees who are absent due to any of the following events:

  • A miscarriage
  • An unsuccessful round of intrauterine insemination or an assisted reproductive technology procedure
  • A failed adoption match or an adoption that is not finalized because it is contested by another party
  • failed surrogacy agreement
  • A diagnosis that negatively impacts pregnancy or fertility
  • A stillbirth

The Act also requires employers to provide 10 workdays of unpaid leave for employees attending the funeral of a covered family member, making arrangements necessitated by the death of a covered family member, or grieving the death of a covered family member.

Employers May Request ‘Reasonable Documentation’ to Justify Leave

The act also specifies that employers may, but are not required to, request “reasonable documentation” to support an employee’s request for pregnancy- or adoption-related bereavement leave.


In 2023, a prohibition on hair-based discrimination will be added to the Illinois Human Rights Act, which covers virtually all Illinois employers. There is now an amended definition of “race” under the Illinois Human Rights Act to include traits historically associated with race, such as hair texture and protective hairstyles like twists, locks, and braids. The change has the effect of banning hairstyle discrimination in employment, housing, financial services, and public accommodations.

Author: Jim Nowogrocki

For further information on these new Illinois employment laws, and other laws which impact the workplace in 2023, contact one of the Summers Compton Wells attorneys in our Employment Law Practice Area.