Illinois Equal Pay Act Registration
Illinois employers face stringent new employment law reporting requirements. The Illinois legislature recently amended the Equal Pay Act (EPA) to require new self-certification and data disclosure obligations for employers with 100 or more employees in Illinois. The new program, called the Equal Pay Registration, requires employers to submit annual compensation reports and employment law compliance certifications to the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL). The reports are then reviewed by IDOL investigators for compliance with certain state and federal laws. After submitting the report, the employer is issued with an Equal Pay Registration Certificate (EPRC).
The EPRC program is resource intensive and requires assembling and submitting copious personnel and payroll data to IDOL. We have detailed the basic steps to remain in compliance below. Failure to comply with the reporting requirements may result in a fine of up to $10,000.
Step 1. Employers must submit their business contact information to IDOL and answer basic questions about the business. To submit your contact information to IDOL, click here.
Step 2. Employers must create an Illinois Public ID Account. The Public ID Account allows the employer to access the EPRC Portal. To create an Illinois Public ID Account, click here.
Step 3. Log into the portal and add the business. You’ll need your FEIN, business name, address, and business contact information. To access the EPRC portal, click here.
Step 4. Submit the required wage information. For each employee, you must submit their name, last 4 digits of their SSN, gender, race, ethnicity, wages paid in the previous calendar year (rounded to the nearest hundredth dollar), hire date, termination date for each employment position, EEOC Job Classification, job title, county where the employee performs most of the work, total hours worked by each employee for the payroll year. The portal allows you to upload all of the information in a common CSV file. A CSV template is available on IDOL’s website, but please be advised that the template does not include a column for total hours worked.
Note: if an employee holds more than one position in a reporting year, they must be listed for each position. For example, if the employee was employed as a Technical Advisor I from January 1 through June 30, and then was promoted to Technical Advisor II from July 1 through December 31, the business should list them twice.
Step 5. Upload the most recently filed EEO-1. (Note: this requirement is temporarily suspended for 2023, but may be restored as the reporting year continues).
Step 6. Upload a signed Compliance Statement. The Compliance Statement must be signed by a corporate officer, legal counsel, or authorized agent of the business.The Compliance Statement requires the officer to certify that the business is in compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the federal Equal Pay Act, the Illinois Human Rights Act, the Illinois Equal Wage Act, and the Illinois Equal Pay Act.
Other certifications include statements that:
- Compensation for female and minority employees at the business is not consistently below the average compensation for male and non-minority employees within each of the major job categories in the EEO-1.
- The business does not restrict employees of one sex to certain job classifications, and makes retention and promotion decisions without regard to sex.
- Wage and benefit disparities are corrected when identified to ensure compliance with wage laws.
- Employee wages and benefits are evaluated periodically to ensure compliance with wage laws.
- Finally, employers must also describe the method utilized to determine employee compensation, such as a market pricing approach, prevailing wage, a collective bargaining agreement, performance pay, internal analysis, or some alternative method.
To review the template certification drafted by IDOL, click here.
Step 7. Pay the filing fee. Currently, the filing fee is $150.00, plus a credit card processing fee of approximately $3.38.
Employers are required to recertify their compliance with the Act every year. The date an employer files during this first year will then become the filing deadline for subsequent years. For example, if an employer files on May 1, 2023, the next report is due by May 1, 2024.
What does IDOL do with the information?
IDOL has stated that it intends to review and respond to employers within 45 days after the EPRC application has been submitted. If IDOL identifies any compliance concerns, it will notify the employer. The employer then has 30 days to cure any pay deficiencies. IDOL may also initiate its own investigation of the business if IDOL concludes that data shows that the business is paying unequal wages based on sex or race. The investigation includes the power to interview workers, administer oaths, depose witnesses, and subpoena documents or testimony.
An equal pay registration certificate for a business may be suspended or revoked by the IDOL Director when the business fails to make a good faith effort to comply with certain employment laws, fails to make a good faith effort to comply with the annual self-reporting requirement, or has multiple violations of employment laws. Before suspending or revoking a registration certificate, IDOL must first attempt to conciliate with the business regarding wages and benefits due to employees.
Is the information public?
Following the amendment to the Equal Pay Act, the law now allows IDOL to compile aggregate data and reports based on the wage data submitted that include the job category and the average hourly wage by county for each gender, race, and ethnicity category on the EPRC applications. The aggregate reports are not confidential and may be requested by the public, but information released to the public is not to include any data that could be associated to any individual business or person.
However, there are two exceptions.
- Current employees. Current employees of a business may request anonymized data regarding their job classification or title and the pay for that classification. No individually identifiable information may be provided to an employee making such a request.
- Illinois Attorney General and the Illinois Department of Human Rights. IDOL may share the raw data (including all personally identifiable information, wages, demographics, and business information) with the Illinois Attorney General and the Illinois Department of Human Rights. Both the Attorney General and the Department of Human Rights may use the information for enforcement purposes.
If you have questions about complying with your reporting requirements or compiling your information, please contact one of Honigman’s labor and employment attorneys.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I have several facilities in Illinois. Fewer than 100 employees work at each site, but I employ more than 100 employees when the facilities are aggregated together. Do I need to register?
A. Yes, IDOL looks at the number of employees total within the State of Illinois.
Q. What date should I use when determining if my business employees 100 or more employees in Illinois?
A. IDOL has advised employers to use the number of employees employed by the business on December 31 of the year preceding the year in which the business must file its report. For example, any filing for calendar year 2023 should be based on the total number of people who worked in Illinois as of December 31, 2022.
Q. When is the submission deadline?
A. Any employer subject to the certification requirements that is authorized to transact business in Illinois after March 23, 2021 must submit an application to the IDOL to obtain an equal pay registration certificate within three years of commencing business operations (but not before January 1, 2024) and must recertify every two years thereafter.
Note, IDOL has been issuing earlier deadlines to some employers.
Q. What constitutes “wages” for purposes of reporting?
A. "Wages" means any compensation paid to an employee by an employer pursuant to an employment contract or agreement between the two parties, including wages, salaries, earned commissions, earned bonuses, stocks and ownership shares. "Wages" does not include the value of retirement benefits, health insurance benefits, or other fringe benefits.
Q. I don’t have gender, race, or ethnicity data for some of my employees?
A. If you have employees who have chosen not to identify their race, gender, and/or ethnicity, you may select "choose not to identify" for the applicable category or categories.
Q. What do I do for remote workers who work outside Illinois?
A. All employees of a business based in Illinois should be included in the total employee count, even if the employees are working remotely outside of Illinois. A business with multiple locations should include only the employees whose base location is in Illinois.