Illinois Equal Pay Act (IEPA)

On March 23, 2021, Illinois governor, J.B. Pritzker signed into law Senate Bill 1480, amending the Illinois Equal Pay Act of 2003. Read about the law here.

Who does this apply to?

All employers who file a federal EEO-1 report and have at least 100 employees in Illinois.

What do employers need to do?

Any private employer with more than 100 employees in Illinois must obtain an “equal pay registration certificate” from the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) before March 24th, 2024 as well as recertify every two years thereafter. Companies who fail to certify will be subject to civil penalties of up to $10,000.
How do employers obtain the Equal Pay Registration Certificate from Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL)?
To obtain the certificate, employers must:
  1. pay a filing fee of $150,
  2. submit an "equal pay compliance statement",
  3. submit, if applicable, a copy of the most recent EEO-1 report with a list of all employees, inclusive of total wages, separated by gender, race and ethnicity categories as indicated in the EEO-1 report.
    1. Section 2 of the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act  defines wages as all compensation owed to an employee pursuant to the employment contract or agreed upon by all parties”.

What must be included in the "equal pay compliance statement"?

The “equal pay compliance statement” must include specific representations concerning the business’s compliance with applicable federal and state equal pay laws, along with statements concerning the business’s methods of setting compensation and benefits, frequency of evaluating wages and benefits to ensure compliance with applicable non-discrimination laws, and steps taken to correct any identified wage and benefit disparities. 

What factors are recognized as appropriate to account for pay differences?

Factors recognized include seniority, merit, the quality or quantity of production, or factors other than gender. In making these comparisons, organizations must utilize “bona fide” factors recognized in IEPA as accounting for pay differences in seniority system, a merit system, a system measuring earnings by quantity or quality of production, or factors other than gender or race (e.g., education, training, experience). Under IEPA, organizations must compare African-Americans to members of other racial groups.

Are there similar laws being enacted elsewhere?

This follows the expected trend to enact separate equal pay reporting following the halt of EEO-1 Component 2 reporting in 2019In 2022, California passed SB 1162 requiring all California employers to report pay data categorized by race/ethnicity and sex. 

More information on the Illinois Equal Pay Act can be found on the Illinois Department of Labor website.

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The Illinois Equal Pay Registration Certificate: What you Need to Know
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What do Employers Need to do?

Any private employers with 100 or more employees based in Illinois that is required to file an EEO-1 report must obtain an Equal pay Registration Certificate from the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) before March 24th, 2024. Employers must recertify every two years after the initial certification.

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Will all Employers need to certify at the same time? Employers will be asked to certify on a rotating basis. IDOL will send a notice to an employer asking them to apply for the equal pay registration certificate. The employer then has 120 days to submit all materials for the certification.
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How can Employers obtain an equal pay registration certificate? 

1 Pay a filing fee of $150

2 Submit an equal pay act registration certificate compliance statement. IDOL has a form that employers should use for this purpose.

3 Submit a copy of the most recent EEO-1 report for all employees included in the reporting.

4 Submit a list of all persons based in Illinoi who were employed during the year prior to the date of the application.

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What must be included in the employee list? 

The employee list must include employee name, total wages, gender. race, ethnicity, hire date, termination date (if applicable) and other information. The list is not a snapshot of one date; it must include all persons employed during the prior year. The list must have separate lines for an employee who changed jobs during the prior year.

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What must be included in the Equal Pay Compliance Statement?

The Equal Pay Act Registration Certificate Compliance Statement must say that the employer is in compliance with various Illinois and federal laws regarding pay. The Statement must also say that the employer does not have certain types of compensation issues. There are additional elements to the Statement found in the IDOL form employers should use.

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Penalties for not filing

Employers who commit a violation of the Equal Pay Registration Certificate provisions in the Illinois Equal Pay Act may be assessed a fine up top $10,000. Employers that inadvertently fail to file an application for the Certificate will be provided 30 calendar days to submit the application before a fine is assessed.

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