Message from Director Joe Costigan.
In 2012, the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) recovered more than $6.2 million in owed wages, created an expedited small claims process and enforced safe working conditions for hundreds of thousands of Illinois workers. Below is a summary of the Department’s major accomplishments in 2012, the 95th year of the Department.
Recovered millions in wages for thousands of Illinois workers.
The Department investigated and processed nearly 7,000 complaints and recovered more than $6.2 million in unpaid and underpaid wages through enforcement of the Wage Payment and Collection Act, Minimum Wage Law, Prevailing Wage Act and Equal Pay Act.
- Wage Payment and Collection Act - Processed 5,134 complaints and recovered $2.8 million.
- Minimum Wage Law - Investigated 960 complaints and recovered nearly $1.5 million.
- Prevailing Wage Act - Investigated 819 complaints and recovered nearly $ 1.8 million;
- Equal Pay Act - Investigated 75 complaints and recovered nearly $155,000.
Implemented new, systematic processes for recovering wages for workers.
The amended Wage Payment and Collection Act increased civil and criminal penalties on employers engaging in wage theft and allowed IDOL to establish a streamlined process to resolve small claims. The Fair Labor Standards Division:
- Created a consolidated hearings process to resolve small claims filed by multiple employees, allowing for a single, legally enforceable judgment against an employer. For the first time in its history, the Department filed class actions to recover more than $500,000 in owed wages for more than 2,000 workers in two notable cases: Prime Staffing, $318,000 and Hilander/The Kroger Co., $198,000.
- Implemented a computer tracking system to track wage claims more efficiently; more than $700,000 in unpaid wages have been verified to date.
- Developed a “fast-track" approach for claims filed under the Minimum Wage and Overtime Act to recover wages through settlements with employers, resulting in less paperwork and $423,000 in claim settlements within months.
- Updated its claim forms to be more accessible to the public;
- Provided additional training and more investigative tools for staff in order to encourage wage settlements.
Enforced the Employee Classification Act.
The Department investigated 42 complaints involving the misclassification of employees as independent contractors working on public and private construction projects.
Ensured equal wages for equal work; Promoted pay equity for all workers on "Equal Pay Day" in Illinois.
The Department investigated 75 complaints and recovered nearly $155,000 — more than double the amount recovered in 2011.
Protected the safety and health of more than 71,000 public sector employees from hazardous conditions.
Through more than 1,089 inspections at public worksites, the Department investigated 23 fatalities/catastrophic events and issued more than 2,000 violations.
Promoted a safe and healthy culture for more than 114,000 Illinois workers; Recognized small businesses for outstanding worker-safety records.
The Department conducted 547 consultation visits to small businesses and public sector sites under the OSHA state plan, identifying and preventing more than 2,130 potential hazards. Additionally, the Department presented Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) awards to Thomas Electronics (Addison), IVEX Specialty Paper (Peoria) and Obiter Research, LLC (Champaign). The award recognizes small businesses that implement and operate an exemplary worker-safety program for several years. In Illinois, 26 employers have received or maintained SHARP status.
Safeguarded families and children attending carnivals and theme parks.
The Department was one of the first in the nation to implement emergency administrative rules to regulate the design and construction of fixed and mobile zip-line operations, and inspected 4,060 amusement rides and attractions open to the public.
Protected the public through regulation of placement agencies; Launched Day & Temporary Labor Services Act compliance initiative.
Protected workers, job seekers and the public’s right to high quality health care by licensing approximately 1,380 placement agencies; collected $414,000 in license fees through enforcement of the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act (DTLSA) and $152,000 in license fees under the Private Employment Agency Act and Nurse Agency Licensing Act, resulting in more than $566,000 in total license fees collected. The Department also conducted outreach seminars statewide to help unlicensed day and temporary labor staffing agencies learn more about the state’s licensing requirements.
Enforced the Child Labor Law.
The Department processed more than 10,000 job applications for workers who are under the age of 16 and investigated complaints and violations of the law.