A: There is not presently a law which requires an employer to grant an employee paid time off for the purpose of getting vaccinated for COVID-19. Employees can take accrued paid leave time (e.g. sick leave, vacation time) if they desire. The City of Chicago is considering an ordinance which will prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who take time off to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and fine employers who do not permit their employees to take (unpaid) time off for such purpose. The ordinance would also award reinstatement, back-pay and treble damages to employees if their employer violates the ordinance by firing the employee.
A: Yes, so long as you ensure the public’s right to participate in the hearing is preserved. Over the past year we have received many questions about virtual public hearings, usually in the zoning context where due process principles apply. For a budget hearing, due process concerns are absent, but public bodies must still ensure that members of the public have the ability to contemporaneously interact with the board during a budget hearing. Typically, that means the public has more opportunity to participate than during public comment. For a virtual budget hearing, there should be the ability for contemporaneous, two-way communication. Furthermore, the notice of public hearing published in advance should include an explanation of the public participation procedure.
Q: Can a municipality bill for water and sewer service which was provided more than 12 months earlier?
A: Maybe. This situation arises when a water meter is defective, fails to properly record the volume of water consumed by a customer and the error is not discovered for more than a year. The Illinois Municipal Code contains a statute which expresses a community shall bill for any utility service, including previously unbilled service: (A) within 12 months after the provision of that service to the customer if the service is supplied to a residential customer; or (B) within 24 months after the provision of that service to that customer if the service is supplied to a non-residential customer. However, an Illinois Appellate Court recently held that a home rule municipality may exercise its home rule power to enact an ordinance permitting it to bill for services provided more than 12/24 months ago. Nothing in the bill affects the ability to collect charges described on timely issued bills that are more than 12 or 24 months delinquent. Close
A: No. Surprisingly, the most common formal opinion issued by the Public Access Counselor is that a public body violates FOIA by ignoring a request (as well as the PAC's request for review!). The most recent formal opinion, Public Access Opinion 18-011, was released September 10, 2018.
A: Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, short employee breaks of less than 20 minutes are generally compensable time. However, a
conflict arises when an employee must legitimately and lawfully take such frequent breaks, each of less than 20 minutes, that it
substantially affects productivity. The Department of Labor recently helped us clarify how to resolve that conflict. In a recent
opinion letter, the DOL noted that FLSA regulations and case law generally find that short rest breaks for employees "promote the
efficiency of an employee" and therefore are compensable because that primarily benefits the employer. On the other hand, breaks
provided pursuant to FMLA are for the primary benefit of the employee. Therefore, the DOL concluded in its Opinion Letter, an
employee's breaks pursuant to FMLA (as intermittent leave) are not compensable breaks under the FLSA, because they are provided for
the primary benefit of the employee only.