Nonpublic School Legislative Update
We previously shared our School Law Legislative Update, focused on new Illinois school-related laws that became effective January 1, 2023. From that update, our team at Franczek P.C. has compiled a narrower list of those laws applicable to nonpublic schools in its Nonpublic School Legislative Update, focused on new laws in effect in 2023.
For a refresher on other new laws affecting private schools that went into effect for the 2022-2023 school year, please see our past alerts and webinars on various school law updates, including:
- Faith’s Law and Erin’s Law
- 2021 Legislative Update Summary (including other laws in effect for SY 2022-2023)
- Fall 2022 School Law Updates Webinar
LABOR & EMPLOYMENT
Employment History Review and Parental Notification of Sexual Misconduct
This public act is a trailer bill to Faith’s Law, amending various sections of the School Code, and adding two new sections that require public and nonpublic schools to conduct a new employment history review process and procedures for notifying parents regarding sexual misconduct between an educator and the parent’s child. The Act creates Section 22-94 of the School Code that lays out detailed requirements for public schools, nonpublic schools, and independent contractors to conduct an employment history review prior to hiring an applicant to work in a position involving direct contact with children or students. It also creates Section 22-85.10 of the School Code, which requires the governing body of each school district, charter school, or nonpublic school to implement a procedure to provide notice of an alleged act of sexual misconduct between an educator and student to the parent or guardian of the student and notice of when any formal action is taken relating to the employment of the alleged perpetrator following an investigation of sexual misconduct. For more information on Faith’s Law, please see our previous alert, and past and upcoming webinars discussing these topics.
Family Bereavement Leave
This public act amends the Child Bereavement Leave Act, now called the Family Bereavement Leave Act, to extend unpaid bereavement leave to employees experiencing pregnancy loss, ineffective fertility treatment, a diagnosis negatively affecting pregnancy or fertility, as well as unsuccessful adoption or surrogacy plans. Specifically, employers must now provide unpaid leave for several circumstances surrounding loss of a child including a miscarriage, an unsuccessful reproductive assistance procedure, a failed adoption match or contested adoption, a failed surrogacy arrangement, diagnoses negatively impacting pregnancy or fertility, and a stillbirth. The amendment also expands bereavement leave coverage under the Act to now include bereavement of “covered family members,” including an employee’s child, stepchild, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent.
Workers’ Rights Amendment
In the most recent election, Illinois voters approved Illinois Constitution Amendment 1, which amends the Illinois Constitution to protect collective bargaining rights. A more comprehensive analysis of how this Constitutional Amendment may impact Illinois public and private sector employers will be available here.
This public act created the Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act (“CROWN Act”), which extends the prohibition on hairstyle discrimination to covered situations under the Illinois Human Rights Act, including employment. Specifically, the CROWN Act expands and clarifies the definition of “race” to include traits associated with race, including but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.
The Act also amends the circumstances in which the Department may have jurisdiction over places of public accommodation that are a “non-sectarian nursery, day care center, elementary, secondary, undergraduate or postgraduate school, or other place of education.” Previously, Section 5-102.2 limited such jurisdiction, in part, to “the denial of access to facilities, goods or services.” The Act amends this provision to now limit such jurisdiction, in part, to “the denial or refusal of full and equal enjoyment of facilities, goods, or services.”
Minimum Wage Increase
As described in a previous alert, Governor Pritzker signed Senate Bill 1 into law on February 19, 2019, which increases the minimum wage in Illinois to $15 per hour by 2025. Under the law, minimum wage increases occur incrementally until 2025. One of the wage increases went into effect on January 1, 2023, raising the minimum wage from $12 an hour to $13 an hour.
One Day Rest in Seven Act Amendment
This public act amends the One Day Rest in Seven Act (“ODRISA”). The amendment requires employers to provide most employees with at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in every consecutive seven-day period. In addition, it requires employers to provide an additional 20-minute meal period for every 4.5 continuous hours worked over an initial 7.5 hours. This is in addition to the previously required 20-minute meal break for employees working 7.5 hours. The public act also requires employers to post a notice summarizing the requirements of ODRISA. Finally, the public act increases the civil penalties for failure to comply with ODRISA. Previously, employers violating ODRISA were guilty of a petty offense and could be fined between $25 and $100. Now, employers violating certain provisions of ODRISA are guilty of a civil offense and will be subject to civil penalties depending on the number of employees. For employers with less than 25 employees, the employer may be subject to a penalty up to $250 per offense to the Department of Labor and damages up to $250 per offense to the employee(s) affected. For employers with more than 25 employees, the employer may be subject to a penalty up to $500 per offense to the Department of Labor and up to $500 per offense to the employee(s) affected.
Employee Sick Leave Act Amendment
This public act amends the Employee Sick Leave Act (“ESLA”) to state that the rights afforded under the ESLA are the minimum standard in a collective bargaining agreement. Generally, the ESLA requires that employers allow employees to use their sick leave time for absences due to injury, illness, medical appointments, or personal care for a covered family member.
STUDENT HEALTH & SAFETY
Student Confidential Reporting Act
This public act creates the Student Confidential Reporting Act, which establishes a school safety tip line in Illinois called Safe2HelpIL for the purpose of receiving reports from the public regarding potential self-harm or potential harm or criminal acts directed at students, school employees, or schools in Illinois. Subject to funds being appropriated for the program, the Act requires the Illinois State Police, in consultation with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, ISBE, Department of Human Services, and Department of Children and Family Services, to establish the reporting program. Among other stipulations, the Act requires, once Safe2Help Illinois is operational, that any State or locally operated school violence help line already established work with Safe2Help Illinois as needed.
Additionally, the Act requires that Illinois State Police oversee the program and provides that reports and information, including any analysis of the potential threat as determined appropriate by the Illinois State Police, be directed to local law enforcement officials and school officials. It further requires that the Illinois State Police ensure that call center staff as well as program employees be trained in the areas of crisis management, available resources for providing mental health services, matters relevant to the program’s operation, and handling criminal intelligence information such as storing and sharing data. The Act includes requirements for maintaining the confidentiality of any reports or information submitted to the program and the circumstances under which such reports or information may be shared, including any reports or information forwarded to a law enforcement official or school official. Additionally, the program manager for Safe2Help Illinois, in collaboration with the Illinois State Police and ISBE, must prepare an annual report. Finally, the Act amends the Juvenile Court Act to allow disclosure of juvenile law enforcement records to a school official if the agency or officer believes that there is “an imminent threat of physical harm to students, school personnel, or others,” no longer limiting such disclosure to when others are present in the school or on school grounds.
Definition of Mandated Reporter Under Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act
This public act amends the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act to extend the list of mandated reporters to include physical therapists, physical therapy assistants, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and athletic trainers.
Latex Glove Ban Act
This public act creates the Latex Glove Ban Act, which requires that food service establishments, including schools, prohibit employees from using latex gloves when preparing or handling food. This ban goes into effect on January 1, 2023. Should latex gloves be used due to the food service establishment’s inability to provide nonlatex gloves, a sign must be clearly placed where food is ordered or purchased notifying the public of the temporary change. Under the Act, the Department of Public Health must send a warning notice to food service establishments who are not in compliance with the Act. Additionally, EMS personnel are not permitted to use latex gloves on or after January 1, 2023, and health care facility personnel are not permitted to use latex gloves beginning on January 1, 2024 if the patient upon whom the gloves are to be used is unconscious or unable to communicate and whose medical history lacks sufficient information to indicate whether the patient has a latex allergy. However, should a crisis occur limiting the ability to source nonlatex gloves, these personnel are permitted to use latex gloves if necessary but must prioritize use of nonlatex gloves for treating specific patients.