Illinois State Overtime Law

posted by Aaron Maduff  |  Aug 15, 2009 07:40 AM [EST]  |  applies to Illinois

This page is article is devoted to Illinois law. It presumes you have a basic knowledge of the Federal Law.  But for more information on the Federal Overtime Law please visit our FLSA page at

The Illinois Minimum Wage Law (IMWL) requires employers to pay non-exempt employees overtime pay equal to 1.5 x their regular hourly pay for any hours worked over 40 in a week (overtime). Except as identified below, Illinois overtime law mirrors the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  .

Differences Between the Illinois Minimum Wage Law and the FLSA

Statute of limitations.

The Illinois Minimum Wage Law allows employees to collect overtime that has not been paid for up to three years from the date the pay was earned. In contract, the FLSA allows employees to file suit for unpaid overtime up to two years later from the date the employee worked the overtime hours, unless the employee proves that the employer's violation of the FLSA was "willful."  If the employee proves a willful violation, he or she has up to three years to file suit. A violation is "wilfull" if the employer either knew or showed reckless disregard as to whether its conduct was prohibited by the statute.

Penalties for Unpaid Illinois Overtime

The Illinois Minimum Wage Law imposes an additional cost on employers who fail to pay overtime when it is due.  Specifically, the Illinois overtime law imposes an additional 2% cost on the employer of the amount of unpaid overtime for each month following the month that the overtime pay was due.


The Illinois Minimum Wage Law has the same major exemptions as the FLSA. An employee is exempt if he or she performs certain types of duties and, in many cases, also receives a minimum salary.  See, for example, FLSA Exemptions for Executive, Professional, Administrative Employees.

In addition, Illinois Minimum Wage law includes:
  • salesmen,
  • mechanics,
  • agricultural employees,
  • employees of not for profit educational or residential child care institutions.
The fact that a person is exempt under the Illinois Minimum Wage Law does not mean that the employee is also exempt from overtime under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. [Aaron, can you cite an example or two?]

Filing Both Illinois and Federal Law Claims

A employee can file claims for unpaid overtime under both the Illinois overtime law and the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act at the same time. The case would likely proceed in Federal Court .  The Federal Court will simply enforce both laws. If one law provides greater benefits than the other, the court will enforce the one providing the greater benefit.

An employee can also file a claim with the U.S. Department of Labor for unpaid overtime claims under the federal FLSA and with the Illinois Department of Labor for violations of the Illinois Minimum Wage Law.


Illinois Minimum Wage Law also prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee who:
  • asking for his or her unpaid overtime pay,
  • contacts an attorney about collecting overtime pay; or
  • files an overtime claim.
If an employee complains of not receiving his or her overtime pay and is fired, he or she has a claim for retaliation.

External Links

Links to external sites with additional information about this topic.

posted by Aaron Maduff  |  Aug 15, 2009 07:40 AM [EST]  |  applies to Illinois

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