Illinois Employers Obligations To Reimburse Employees For Telework Expenses Related to COVID-19

Does an Illinois employer need to reimburse employees for work-related expenses due to mandatory telework during the COVID-19 pandemic? 
It depends. On January 1, 2019, Illinois enacted Public Act 100-1094, which amended its Wage Payment and Collection Act (820 ILCS § 115) by adding a new Section 9.5, entitled reimbursement of employee expenses. This provision requires employers to “reimburse an employee for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by the employee within the employee’s scope of employment and directly related to services performed for the employer.” 
The term “necessary expenditures” is defined as “reasonable expenditures or losses required of the employee in the discharge of employment duties and that inure to the primary benefit of the employer” (emphasis added). As Illinois employers begin implementing telework options for its employees – including those who normally do not telework – they should be mindful of this provision of the Wage Payment and Collection Act. For employees who normally do not telework, the employer may be required to reimburse the employee for expenses, i.e. internet connections and phone calls on personal devices,  associated with maintaining the employer’s operations.  It is unlikely that this provision will apply to those employees who normally have the option to telework during normal business operations. 
Members who have businesses in Illinois should check with their counsel to ensure that they are complying with Illinois’s Wage Payment and Collection Act. 

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