What You Need to Know About Illinois’ Statute of Limitations for Unpaid Wage Claims

Employees who wish to file an unpaid wage claim must follow their state’s statute of limitations. Here’s everything you need to know about the statute of limitations for unpaid wage claims in Illinois.

In Illinois, complaints should be filed within one year after the wages were due but recovery of unpaid wages can range from 3 to 5 years before the complaint was filed, depending on the type of wage. Illinois employees submit unpaid wage claims to the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL). Generally, employees may also file a lawsuit in federal court within 3 years of the complaint. Keep in mind that this can change depending on the situation and claim.

Unpaid Wage Claims

Unpaid wage claims allow employees to file formal complaints against their employers when an employer owes money for hours worked. Successful claims can result in recovery of not just unpaid wages but also in the imposition of other penalties to punish employers.

In Illinois, employees can file unpaid wage claims if they experience any of the following:

  • Owed wages
  • Unpaid vacation
  • Unpaid overtime
  • Unpaid breaks and time off
  • Unpaid bonus
  • Unpaid commissions
  • Owed final compensation

Note eligibility for unpaid wage claims is dependent on the type of industry and wage an employee receives.

Related: Illinois Right-to-Work Laws

Illinois Minimum Wage Laws

The minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 per hour. Employees under the age of 18 may be paid 50 cents less per hour, or $7.75 per hour. Employers cannot use other costs of employment to decrease the minimum wage required.

Employees in Chicago and Cook County have separate minimum wages higher than the Illinois minimum. In Chicago, minimum wage for non-tipped employees is $13.00 per hour and for employees who receive tips, it is $6.25 per hour. In Cook County, minimum wage for non-tipped employees is $12.00 per hour and for employees who receive gratuities, it is $7.20 per hour.

The following Illinois employees are exempt from the minimum wage requirement:

  • Employees of employers with less than 4 employees
  • Certain agricultural employees
  • Domestic service workers
  • Outside salespeople
  • Certain religious employees
  • Work-study students
  • Motor carrier employees
  • Camp counselors

Illinois Overtime Laws

Under Illinois law, employers must pay employees at a rate of one and a half of the employee’s regular hourly wage for working more than 40 hours per week.

Related: Statute of Limitations for Employment Claims in Illinois

Employees that work in administrative, executive, professional, outside sales, or agricultural activities are exempt from overtime requirements. The following employees are also exempt:

  • Salesmen and mechanics who sell/service cars at dealerships
  • Government employees
  • Radio or television employees (depends on city)
  • Participants in workplace exchange agreements
  • Educational or residential child care institution employees
  • Commissioned employees

Statute of Limitations for Illinois Unpaid Wage Claims

Illinois employees can file unpaid wage claims with the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) within 1 year of the complaint.

In Illinois, the statute of limitations for employees choosing to file an unpaid wage claim varies according to the type of unpaid wage:

  • If not paid minimum wage – 3 years
  • If owed overtime – 3 years
  • If not paid final compensation and/or underpaid after quitting, getting fired, or resigning – 5 years

Illinois employees may also choose to file a lawsuit in court. The statute of limitations depends on the unpaid wage claim and situation.

  • Minimum wage and overtime claims under state laws – 3 years
  • Minimum wage and overtime claims under federal laws – 2 years (3 years if employer violated law willingly)
  • Claims involving final payment – 10 years

Contact Us

If you or a loved one would like to learn more about Illinois Statute of Limitations for Unpaid Wage Claims, get your free consultation with one of our Employment Attorneys in Illinois today!