Effective January 1, 2019, the Illinois state law governing military leaves changed. ISERRA (the Illinois Service Member Employment and Reemployment Rights Act) replaces a set of laws that formerly governed such leaves: the Military Leave of Absence Act, Public Employee Armed Services Rights Act, Municipal Employees Military Active Duty Act, and Local Government Employees Benefits Continuation Act. ISERRA incorporates key provisions of the federal law (USERRA) providing for reemployment of service members, such as prohibiting discrimination against employees in the military and maintaining their right to reinstatement after leave. In addition, ISERRA recognizes additional types of military service that are not provided protection under USERRA, such as service covered by the Illinois State Guard Act, absence from employment while a service member is seeking treatment for a condition or illness that was sustained or aggravated during active service, and service in a federally recognized auxiliary of the U.S. Armed Forces when performing official duties in support of military or civilian authorities as a result of an emergency. ISERRA applies to virtually all employees in the state of Illinois, both public and private. Certain provisions of ISERRA, such as those pertaining to concurrent and differential compensation, are only applicable to public employers.
According to SunLife Financial, private employers should take note of ISERRA’s expanded definition of military service relative to USERRA, because those provisions will protect periods of leave that federal law does not. In addition, employers must ensure that they provide notice of employee rights under the law in a conspicuous location. This notice is available on the Attorney General’s website.