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Illinois Department of Labor issues first guidance on the state’s Equal Pay Act

Zoe Spector Susan Lorenc Chuck Poplstein June 2, 2022

In 2021, we reported on a new amendment to the Illinois Equal Pay Act, which imposed new equal pay compliance requirements and created new obligations for private employers with more than 100 employees in Illinois. Recently, the Illinois Department of Labor (“IDOL”) published some long-awaited guidance on these new requirements. 

Here are some key clarifications:

  • Only private employers with 100 employees or more who file an EEO-1 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("covered employers") are required to obtain an Equal Pay Registration Certificate (“EPRC”). 

    • A covered employer’s total number of employees is the total number of people who worked in or were based out of Illinois on December 31 of the 12-month calendar year immediately prior to your submission of the EPRC application. 

      • Employees who are based in Illinois should be included in the total employee count, even if they work remotely outside of Illinois. A business with multiple locations must only include those employees who work for an Illinois location.

  • The IDOL will assign covered employers an application due date between March 24, 2022 and March 23, 2024. The IDOL will notify covered employers of their applicable deadline at least 120 days before the application will be due.

    • To confirm or inform the IDOL that you are a covered employer, visit the Business Registration Page and submit your business’ contact information. The IDOL will then put your business on the list to provide a deadline within the two-year response timeframe to submit the application. 

  • The application consists of (1) $150 filing fee; (2) wage records, including a copy of your business’ most recently filed EEO-1 report; and (3) an Equal Pay Compliance Statement.

  • “Wages” means any compensation paid to an employee. This includes wages, salaries, earned commissions, earned bonuses, stocks and ownership shares. “Wages” does not include retirement, health, or other fringe benefits. (W-2 Box 5 should have this information for purposes of EPRC data reporting).

  • When reporting employee data, covered employers must report each position the employee held, including the start and end dates and corresponding title and rate of pay. 

    • In other words, for employees who have been promoted, you must list the employee’s original hire date, and then list the termination date as the date they were promoted. You would then create another row in the spreadsheet for that same employee with the “hire” date as the date they were promoted.

Covered employers who have not yet received an application deadline from the IDOL should confirm their contact information is up to date with the IDOL, and keep an eye out for a notification from the IDOL regarding you application deadline, which may not be until 2024. 

In the meantime, employers should prepare for these new reporting and certification requirements, and, if necessary, conduct any audits with the assistance of legal counsel that may be deemed necessary. Thompson Coburn’s employment attorneys are available to assist you with this process and provide further information and specifications regarding these new requirements. 

Zoe Spector, Chuck Poplstein and Susan Lorenc are attorneys in Thompson Coburn’s Labor & Employment group.