Illinois DOL Provides Guidance on Equal Pay Registration Certificate Application Process

The new requirements for employers to comply with the Illinois Equal Pay Act (the “Act”) Amendments took effect last month. As previously discussed, between March 24, 2022 and March 23, 2024, employers with 100 or more employees in Illinois must apply for an Equal Pay Registration Certificate (EPRC). To apply, employers must first provide contact information to the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL). At some point thereafter, the IDOL will contact the employer to provide a registration deadline with no less than 120 days’ advance notice. 

Employers then must submit the following materials to the IDOL’s EPRC Portal:

  • Compliance statement: An Equal Pay Act compliance statement, signed by a corporate officer, legal counsel, or authorized agent of the business;
  • Employer Information Report EEO-1: If required to file an EEO-1 report with the EEOC, a copy of the business’ most recently filed EEO-1 report for each county in which the business has a facility or employees;
  • List of employees: Separated by gender and race/ethnicity categories as reported in the business’ most recently filed EEO-1 report and the county in which the employee works, the date the employee started working for the business, and the total wages paid to each employee during the past calendar year rounded to the nearest $100; and
  • $150 filing fee.

The IDOL intends to review and respond to employers within 45 days after the EPRC application has been submitted. If the IDOL advises an employer of any compliance concerns, the employer will have 30 days to cure any deficiencies. If the submitted wage data shows the employer is paying unequal wages based on sex or race, the IDOL may initiate its own investigation.

The following materials are available on the IDOL website to assist employers with the EPRC application: (1) a compliance statement template; (2) a template Excel spreadsheet reflecting what information should be reported for the list of employees; and (3) training PowerPoint slides to assist employers with navigating its EPRC Portal. Employers will also have the option of submitting additional information to explain any pay disparities among employees.  

The Illinois Department of Labor Answers Frequently Asked Questions About the Equal Pay Registration Certificate

This week the IDOL added Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to their website. The FAQs answer questions about which employers are required to obtain an EPRC, the application submission process, reporting data, certification, recertification, and the penalties for noncompliance. The IDOL intends to file additional regulations containing more comprehensive information about the Act’s Amendments, which will be circulated for employers’ and others’ comments for a 45-day period once these additional regulations are finalized.

As employers await the IDOL’s additional regulations, the FAQs provide information to facilitate employers’ EPRC efforts. Below are some of the key takeaways:

  • The IDOL defines the “wages” it requires to be reported as 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. An employee’s W2-Box 5 should have the most complete information for the purposes of data reporting. 
  • A current employee of a business subject to the Act may request data regarding their job classification or title and the pay for that classification. The IDOL may also share data with the Illinois Department of Human Rights.
  • For employers with a fluctuating number of employees: To determine whether an employer has 100 or more employees, the employer should look at the total number of employees who worked in or were based out of Illinois on December 31 of the year prior to the year the employer is required to submit an EPRC application.  This means that if the IDOL gives an employer a 2022 deadline to submit its application, the employer’s wage data should be based on the total number of people it employed on December 31, 2021.
  • For employers based in Illinois with out-of-state remote employees: 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, however, include only the employees whose base location is Illinois.
  • Employers that do not comply with the Act’s equal pay registration certificate requirements can be fined up to $10,000.

Recommendations for Employers

Employers can immediately take steps to comply with the new requirements of the Act by conducting pay audits and compiling the employee information that needs to be reported. Littler will monitor these requirements on employers and will provide additional updates when the IDOL issues more guidance.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.