New Illinois Law Protects Worker in Pay and Compensaation

On January 1, the Illinois Employee Classification Act takes effect, which redefines standards by which a worker is either an employee or independent contractor. The Illinois Department of Labor said it will enforce the law by imposing a fine of $1,500 per violation and $2,500 per violation for a repeat offender five-years.

The AFL-CIO supports the law, arguing that Illinois contractors have, in the past, sent workers classified as independent contractors to job sites.

"This law provides workers with better pay and worker-compensation coverage, unemployment workers coverage and also closes loopholes for those not paying fair taxes as well as millions of dollars lost in state revenue," Illinois AFL-CIO Legislative Director Jason Keller said. The AFL-CIO represents 1 million members in Illinois.

Jason Bailey, owner of Bailey Construction LLC in Tunnel Hill, Ill., sees positives and negatives of the rule.

"It's a good and a bad thing because as a general contractor, I think it works out pretty good to try and help put everybody on the same level and playing field," Bailey said. "Then again, it's hurting us, because it's going to such an extreme. If I happen to have a subcontractor who doesn't carry workman's compensation or doesn't pay his employees as he should, I'm the one who gets charged for it, not him. I mean, he probably will, too, but it all comes back to me. So I'm going to be the one getting fined and not just him."

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