Illinois Final Pay Laws – How the IWPCA Protects Illinois Workers

As a worker in Illinois, you probably trust that your employer will pay you the appropriate amount of money in exchange for your work. However, if you’ve recently experienced an issue with employee wages, you may be wondering: what happens when an Illinois employer fails to pay? 

The Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA) is in place to protect workers from numerous wage-related issues. Read on to learn more about this law and how DeBlasio & Gower LLC can help you recover your employee wages and/or bonus compensation. 

What Is the IWPCA? 

The Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA) is a an Illinois law that establishes where, when, and how often Illinois employers must pay wages to their employees. This act covers several circumstances involving employee wages, including, but not limited to, final compensation at the end of an employment period, and unpaid bonuses and unpaid overtime. 

Generally, IWPCA provides the protections for employees, such as: 

  • Employers must inform employees of their pay rates and detail how they will receive payment before employees begin working.
  • In most cases, employees must receive their wages at least twice per month.
  • Employees who receive bi-weekly payment of wages must receive their wages within 13 days of the end of the pay period. 
  • Employees who receive weekly payment of wages must receive their wages within seven days of the end of the pay period. 
  • At the end of an employment relationship, employees must receive their final compensation no later than the next scheduled payday. 
  • Employers cannot deduct funds from employees’ wages unless they meet specific criteria.  

Who Does the IWPCA Protect? 

The IWPCA protects most private employees working in the state of Illinois.

However, this act does not cover federal or state government employees, independent contractors, or employees who perform their work outside of Illinois. Although in some circumstances a worker outside Illinois can sue their Illinois-based employer. The IWCPA also has a 10 year state of limitations and allows an employee to hold a corporate office of the employer personally liabile for the unpaid wages.

To receive protections under the IWPCA, you must have some sort of agreement or contract with your employer. The term “agreement” under the IWPCA is very broad and includes even oral agreements. Sometimes an employee handbook can be deemed as a contract or agreement under the IWPCA, even if your employer has stated that your handbook is not a contract. 

The Illinois Department of Labor wants the IWPCA to apply to as many workers as possible. As a result, it considers several forms of agreements and contracts valid for claims under this law. 

What Damages Can You Receive in an IWPCA Claim? 

Employers who have violated the IWPCA must provide the unpaid wages owed to their employees. However, they may also be subject to other damages and penalties under this law. 

Specifically, employers found liable under this act must also pay:

  • To the employee, damages equal to 5% of the wage underpayment for each month unpaid. These damages continue to accrue until the employer pays what they owe.
  • The employees costs and reasonable attorney’s fees

Employers may owe additional penalties for failing to comply with the demand from the Illinois Department of Labor in a timely fashion.   

How Our Team Can Help 

Navigating the wage claim process may feel confusing and overwhelming, especially if your employer maintains that they paid you fairly. However, having a qualified employment and civil rights attorney on your side can take the stress off your shoulders and give you a better chance of receiving the wages you believe you deserve. 

At DeBlasio & Gower, LLC, we have over four decades of experience helping clients. We can help you collect evidence to assist your claim, walk you through the claim application process, and provide legal advice every step of the way. Start by contacting DeBlasio & Gower, LLC today at 630-560-1123 to schedule your initial consultation.