Family Military Leave Mandated Under New Illinois Law

August 24, 2005 ( - Employees of small-to-mid-sized Illinois companies may now take unpaid family leave if they have a spouse or child called up to active military service for more than a month.

Governor Rod Blagojevich signed theFamily Military Leave Actinto law Sunday at the Illinois State Fair, according to news reports.

The law calls for any employer with between 15 and 50 employees to offer up to 15 days of unpaid family military leave to an employee with a called-up spouse or child during the time federal or state deployment orders are in effect. The measure requires employers with more than 50 employees to provide up to 30 days of unpaid family military leave.

Eligible workers will have at least a year on the job and at least 1,250 hours of service during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave.

The law requires that before employees take family military leave, they first have to use up all accrued vacation leave, personal leave, compensatory leave, and any other leave that may be granted to the employee – except sick leave and disability leave. The worker must also give at least two weeks notice if the leave will last five or more consecutive work days.

Further, the employer must restore the employee exercising the right to family military leave to the position held when the leave started or to a position with equivalent seniority status, employee benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.

Finally, employers must allow workers to continue their benefits during the leave at the employee’s expense.

New York state officials recently sweetened benefits for Empire State employees killed while serving in the military (See Empire StateSweetens Benefits for Military Personnel KIA ).