Illinois Government Responses to Covid-19 Updated 4/3/2020
Today’s update includes information on:
- Illinois Department of Labor’s decision on the WARN Act
- Illinois EPA’s work response
- Definition of essential manufacturing businesses
- Illinois Department of Revenue announcement regarding income tax returns
- Illinois has a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (the “WARN Act”), which requires employers with 75 or more full-time employees to give at least 60 days advance notice of plant closing or mass layoffs to workers, along with state and local officials. The WARN Act is important because any employer who fails to give notices are liable for back pay and benefits in addition to civil penalties. The WARN Act, however, provides that employers are not required to provide notice if a layoff or employment loss is necessitated by a physical calamity or an act of war or terrorism. In the midst of COVID-19, the Illinois Department of Labor has indicated that they are not enforcing the WARN Act requirements.
- The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has joined the vast majority of other businesses in having the majority of staff work from home, while only essential staff is coming in to the agency to work. This includes managers, who are on a rotation to ensure there are sufficient managers present to oversee the staff in the building. As a result, anyone contacting the agency will experience a significant lag in response time. In an attempt to prioritize transactions that have upcoming deadlines, the staff is letting some work languish so that they can focus on the current day’s emergency.
- There has been no change to the definition of essential manufacturing under Executive Order 2020-18, extending the prior order to April 30, 2020. Essential manufacturing has been defined as:
“Manufacturing companies, distributors, and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services in and for industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, chemicals and sanitization, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications, as well as products used by other Essential Businesses and Operations.”
This means that many facilities, along with distribution and supply chains, may continue to operate in an effort to continue supplying necessities during the pandemic.
- In response to the pandemic, and the abundance of residents now out of work, the Illinois Department of Revenue (“IDOR”) released a bulletin with changes to estimated tax payments. For example, the filing and payment deadline for income tax returns, normally due on April 15, has been extended until July 15, 2020. This extension will give taxpayers ample time to pay what they owe or to file returns.