Illinois Enacts Child Bereavement Leave Act

Law Applicable to Certain Large Employers

A new law in Illinois allows certain employees to take child bereavement leave. Highlights of the law are presented below.

The law covers (among other entities) employers with 50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

Employees are generally covered if they:

  • Work for a covered employer;
  • Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave;
  • Work at a location where the employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles; and
  • Have worked for the employer for at least 12 months (not required to be consecutive).

State Bereavement Leave
Covered employees are entitled to use a maximum of 2 weeks (10 work days) of unpaid bereavement leave to:

  • Attend the funeral (or alternative to a funeral) of a child;
  • Make arrangements necessitated by the child’s death; or
  • Grieve the child’s death.

Bereavement leave under the provisions above must be completed within 60 days after the date on which the employee receives notice of the child’s death.

Note: “Child” means an employee’s son or daughter who is a biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis.

An employee must provide the employer with at least 48 hours’ advance notice of the employee’s intention to take bereavement leave, unless providing such notice is not reasonable and practicable.

The law is effective as of July 29, 2016. The text of the law features additional provisions affecting employers and employees.


UPDATE 2-McDonald’s U.S. to add all-day breakfast on Oct. 6

(Reuters) – McDonald’s Corp’s U.S. franchisees have voted to begin offering all-day breakfast on Oct. 6, a widely expected move that the company and investors hope will help reverse slumping sales and traffic at the world’s biggest fast-food chain.

Many U.S. consumers like to eat breakfast foods at all hours of the day. McDonald’s is the top choice for those so-called “Breakfastarians,” according to a recent survey from YouGov BrandIndex, a brand perception research service.

McDonald’s all-day breakfast menu will include hotcakes, yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, hash browns, sausage burritos and either McMuffin sandwiches or biscuit sandwiches, according to the company, which did not say how much the new program is expected to boost results.

Richard Adams, a former McDonald’s franchisee turned consultant, said McDonald’s has told franchisees that all-day breakfast will lure 200 customers a week per restaurant.

McDonald’s is expected to back its breakfast expansion with a significant advertising campaign, and Adams predicted that the company will get an initial sales boost from expanded breakfast service.

All-day sales of McDonald’s iconic McMuffin sandwiches at the chain’s more than 14,000 U.S. restaurants could increase sales by as much as 2.5 percent a year, according to an internal company presentation obtained by Bloomberg News.

“Will this be a long term fix for McDonald’s USA? We won’t know until well into 2016,” Adams said.

Some franchisees worry that extended breakfast service could complicate operations and slow service at a time when company executives have vowed to simplify and streamline the chain’s menu.

To that end, McDonald’s said that regional operators can decide whether to cut certain menu items based on local customer preferences.

Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles

Editing by Tom Brown, Steve Orlofsky and Bernard Orr

Widow who claimed husband was worked to death deserves worker’s comp benefits, Pa. court rules

A Commonwealth Court panel has ordered that worker compensation death benefits be paid to a Pennsylvania widow who claimed her husband was literally worked to death.

The judges sided with Judith Dietz, who sought the death benefits for herself and her young child after her 48-year-old husband, Robert, died from a heart attack while working a 14-hour shift for the Lower Bucks County Joint Municipal Authority.

Pennsylvania Judicial Center

The Pennsylvania Judicial Center

Judith Dietz appealed to the court after the state Workers Compensation Appeal Board denied her plea for that aid. The appeals board concluded there wasn’t sufficient proof that the long, strenuous shift Robert Dietz worked on Nov. 7, 2007 caused his fatal heart attack.Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt disagreed in the recent Commonwealth Court opinion overturning the appeals board decision. There was plenty of proof that Robert Dietz’s heart attack was work-related, she concluded.

“The overwhelming circumstantial evidence…shows that exertion from (Dietz’s) regular work activities over the course of a 14-hour workday caused his heart-attack,” Leavitt wrote.

The municipal authority had argued that pre-existing health issues and a history of smoking, not Dietz’s physically demanding job as a field maintenance worker, prompted the heart attack. Dietz did that job, which involved running a jackhammer and other strenuous labor, for 20 years.

The distinction regarding whether the heart attack was job-related was important, because a link between a dead employee’s work and the death must be established for the surviving spouse to be eligible for workers comp benefits. For example, a widow with one child is entitled to 60 percent of the dead worker’s wages and up to $3,000 for burial expenses.

Although the authority presented medical testimony that Robert Dietz’s medical history made it likely he would have a heart attack even if he was not working, Leavitt gave greater weight to a doctor who testified for the Dietz family that the long, strenuous workday provided the fatal catalyst.

The Commonwealth Court ruling could be appealed to the state Supreme Court.


Labor Enforcement Task Force Releases New Educational Materials for Workers and Employers

Oakland—The Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF), a coalition of government agencies under the direction of the Department of Industrial Relations that combats the underground economy, has produced new educational materials to inform workers of their rights and help employers understand their responsibilities.

The booklet “All Workers Have Rights in California” is now online in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. It covers such topics as minimum wage and overtime, rest and meal breaks, safety and health on the job, and benefits for those injured or unemployed.

For employers, “An Overview for Employers” provides information about what a LETF inspection entails. There are also brochures specifically for construction and restaurants to help those businesses understand and follow labor, licensing and payroll tax laws.

“Work-related laws are on the books to foster a fair and equitable California economy— one where businesses compete on a level playing field and employee rights are protected. These new educational tools will help us reach more employers and workers on workplace rights and responsibilities,” said Christine Baker, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). DIR divisions Cal/OSHA and the Labor Commissioner’s Office are lead actors in the LETF coalition, which includes multiple partners from State and local government agencies

LETF was created in 2012 to ensure safe working conditions and proper payment of wages for workers, create an environment where legitimate businesses can thrive, and support the collection of all California taxes, fees, and penalties due from employers. During its first three years, LETF found consistently high rates of non-compliance, with over 80 percent of inspections resulting in penalties. In the first quarter of 2015, 45 percent of businesses inspected were found to be out of compliance with all inspecting partners. These results reflect the program’s strategy to target enforcement on businesses that are identified for inspection using refined data matching techniques. This approach ensures resources are used to deter noncompliance and level the playing field for all businesses.

“Education and enforcement are essential in fighting the underground economy,” said Dominic Forrest, Chief of the Labor Enforcement Task Force. “Having materials available in multiple languages will help further understanding of California laws.”

An example of LEFT enforcement occurred in March, when the task force inspected Abel & Bros. Custom Iron Works in San Marcos. The Labor Commissioner cited the company $226,840 for not providing seven employees with workers’ compensation insurance coverage, as well as cash pay violations including failure to provide pay stubs and keep accurate time records. Cal/OSHA issued $24,800 in penalties for safety hazards, including two serious violations for the lack of guards on a foot-operated air hammer and missing hood guards on two circular metal-cutting saws.

Multi-agency joint enforcement produces significant results, as detailed in a 2015 report to the legislature. LETF focuses on high-risk industries known to frequently abuse the rights of low wage workers such as car wash, restaurant, manufacturing, roofing, construction, agricultural and auto repair businesses. For a complete list of LETF partner agencies, and to learn more about the underground economy please visit the LETF home page.

Leads on underground employers and reports of labor law violations can be submitted online through LETF’s Online Referral Form, by emailing the information to, or by calling LETF toll-free at 1-855-297-5322.

California DIR News Release: [06/23/2015]
Release Number: