Q. I heard that employers may soon be prosecuted for not paying employees on time. What are the penalties for employers that violate the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act?
A. The Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act was amended in July 2010 to provide harsher criminal penalties for employers that violate the act. The amendments became effective on Jan. 1, 2011.
Employers that have been ordered to pay wages to an employee must pay a nonwaivable administrative fee of $250 to the Illinois Department of Labor. In addition, employees may recover a 2% penalty of the unpaid wages for each month of underpayment.
But that’s not all. Employers may also be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor for unpaid wages amounting to $5,000 or less.
It’s a Class A misdemeanor if they fail to pay wages amounting to more than $5,000. In addition, an employer that has violated the act a second time within two years of a prior criminal conviction under the act may be guilty of a Class 4 felony.