Dobbeck: Employees have guaranteed rights for leaves of absence
If you have employees, you have probably heard every reason under the sun for an absence. The following explains those absences that are approved and guaranteed by either the state of Illinois or by the federal government. Most are unpaid but two are paid.
Unpaid time off:
• Jury duty leave. The right of every employee to be absent to serve on a jury is granted under the Jury System Improvement Act of 1978. Under this act, employers must allow their employee time off to serve on a jury. Employers must guarantee seniority and benefits as well as reinstatement upon return. The leave is unpaid although several employers do compensate their employees while serving on a jury. In Illinois, an employer may not request that an employee work on the same day he/she is absent due to jury duty. Your employees are informed of this when they receive jury duty notification from the court. If your handbook states differently, you might want revise it.
• Election judge leave. If you have 25 or more employees, any employee serving as an election judge in federal, state and/or local elections is protected from discipline for serving. The employee needs to inform his/her employer with at least 20 days of notice. Election judge leave protection is limited to 10 percent of an employer’s workforce.
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