The Illinois Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 2003 prohibits unequal wages between men and women for performing substantially similar work. Compliance with the Illinois EPA is essential to keeping liability to a minimum.
What Is the Illinois Equal Pay Act?
The Illinois Equal Pay Act requires employers to pay male and female employees the same amount for the same job. Any disparities in pay should be based on factors other than gender, such as:
- Skill requirements
- Effort required
- Level of responsibility
- Working conditions
- Merit systems
- Quality or quantity of production
If pay differences between men and women working substantially similar jobs in the same county cannot be attributed to any of the above factors, then you may be subject to substantial penalties.
New Amendment to the Equal Pay Act
As of March 23, 2021, an amendment was passed into law through Public Law 101-0656 which added another section to the Illinois Equal Pay Act. This amendment adds transparency requirements for employers with more than 100 employees.
Specifically, qualifying employers must get an equal pay registration certificate from the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) certifying that they are in compliance with EPA and other laws, such as the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Illinois Human Rights Act, etc.
In addition, the employer must also submit a copy of their EEO-1 (filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) to IDOL with a list of all employees by race, gender, and ethnicity. This is to be accompanied by wage information to verify that differences in wages aren’t the result of gender or race. IDOL can audit businesses to make sure they are making a good-faith effort to comply.
Businesses in the state have until March of 2024 to bring themselves into compliance.
Ways to Maintain Compliance with the Equal Pay Act
To make sure your company complies with the Equal Pay Act—and in particular with the recent amendment to the law—consider implementing the following.
Maintain Careful Records—and Review Them Regularly
First, it’s vital that you keep careful records of employee and wage information. This will need to be reported every two years when you renew your certificate, so you’re best off keeping a close eye on these records.
Assess Each Job in Your Organization
If you have job descriptions on file, you already have a good starting point for making sure you’re compliant with the Illinois EPA. Using this job information, assess the skills and requirements for each position as well as any other data that might affect wages.
Keep on Top of Reporting
Reporting is an essential component of compliance with the Illinois Equal Pay Act. Not only will you need to report the data found on your EEO-1 forms, but you’ll also need to give demographic information for your employees. Being timely with these reports may help reduce the odds of an audit by IDOL.
Involve Legal Experts
The statement you submit to IDOL to obtain your certificate needs to be signed by either an officer, an agent, or legal counsel. As such, an attorney can help you maintain compliance with the Illinois EPA. For the legal guidance you need to comply with Illinois’s labor laws, contact an attorney today.