Illinois Equal Pay Act Update: New Clarity in Final Administrative Rules but Questions Remain
As discussed in a prior alert, the Illinois legislature amended the State's Equal Pay Act to require businesses with more than 100 employees to obtain an Equal Pay Registration Certificate (Registration Certificate) from the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) by March 24, 2024. In May 2022, the IDOL published proposed rules aimed at clarifying the amended statute’s new registration requirements. Quarles & Brady previously analyzed the proposed rules and identified three areas of ambiguity within the Act that appeared to go unaddressed, such as: (1) what is the scope of employers required to obtain a Registration Certificate; (2) whether employers are required to admit their Registration Certificate obligation in writing; and (3) how employers determine “average compensation” for the purpose of satisfying reporting requirements under the statute.
Importantly, the IDOL adopted verbatim the definition of a covered “employee” and “average compensation” as outlined in the proposed rules, meaning the IDOL left unclear the scope of employees who are covered by the Act and the methods by which employers are to evaluate “average compensation.” As such, Quarles & Brady’s previous guidance with respect to these two items remains in place.
Notably, one change the IDOL did make in the final rules was to eliminate the requirement that covered businesses submit an “enrollment form” acknowledging their responsibility to comply with the Registration Certificate requirement by March 31, 2022. Rather, the final rules simply state that “[a] business that is authorized to transact business in the State of Illinois on or before March 23, 2021 shall submit an enrollment form notifying the [IDOL] that the business is subject to Section 11 of the Act[,]” without imposing a deadline. While the final rules make clear that the IDOL expects employers to admit in writing that they are subject to the Registration Certificate requirements, covered business are not immediately placed in noncompliance, as would have been the case under the proposed rules. Even so, covered businesses who have not already been contacted by the IDOL should submit an enrollment form (available on the IDOL’s website) as soon as possible.
For more information on how the final rules may impact your business, please contact: