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Understanding your rights as an employee

As an employee in the state of Illinois, you have certain rights - rights that you can fight for if not provided by your employer. This goes for both hourly and salaried employees. These rights include: overtime pay, minimum wage, vacation and sick leave, protection from discrimination and harassment, and meal and day breaks.

Overtime pay

Many Illinois employees have the right to overtime pay equal to one and a half times their hourly rate. Individuals who do not hold the right to receive overtime pay include administrative, executive and professional employees, and those who work in outside sales.

Minimum wage

Currently the required minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 per hour, but that rate will increase to $15 per hour by 2025.

Vacation and sick leave

Under Illinois state law, employers do not have to provide sick leave for their employees. The only way to ensure your right to sick leave is if you hold a union contract or employment agreement with your employer. If so, your employer must follow the terms of the agreement.

Protection from discrimination and harassment

Your employee rights state, that employers cannot discriminate or harass based on your race, sex, national origin, disability, religion or sexual orientation. If this occurs during the hiring process or during working hours, your rights have been violated and you may be able to sue your employer. If you aren't sure whether to pursue a lawsuit, consult an attorney familiar with employment law.

Meal and day breaks

If working a shift of longer than 7.5 hours, you must be allowed an unpaid meal break for at least 20 minutes. Your employer does not have to provide a meal break if your shift is less than 7.5 hours. If they do, the employer pays for the employee's break. Also, if your employer does not provide time needed for bathroom breaks, breast feeding or breast pumping, you may be able to receive compensation due to a violation of your employee rights.

Be aware of your rights in case they come into question and you need to defend yourself against mistreatment in the workplace.

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