New Year, New Employment Law Changes in Illinois

employment law changes, DuPage County Business Law AttorneyJanuary 3rd brought changes to the Illinois’ Unemployment Insurance Act, with these changes reflecting compromises made between both employee and business groups. Included in these changes are an expansion of the type of actions which could result in the termination of an employee's right to collect unemployment benefits, as well as reinstituting the rights of seniors who are laid off to collect unemployment benefits.

Under the prior version of the Act, the misconduct of an employee which would terminate his or her right to unemployment benefits was only defined as "the deliberate and willful violation of a reasonable rule or policy." However, under the new rules, misconduct may now be defined as:

  • Providing false information in an employment application;
  • Consuming alcohol or illegal drugs while on the job;
  • Putting themselves and/or their coworkers in danger by grossly negligent behavior;
  • Causing damage to the employer's property by grossly negligent behavior;
  • Failure to maintain all required certifications, licenses, or registrations as required by the employer;
  • Consistently violating the employer's written attendance policies; and
  • Refusal to follow the employer's lawful and reasonable instructions (exception being the employee's refusal is based on his or her lack of ability training or skills, or to do so would result in an unsafe act).

Those in favor of the new changes—including the governor's office—say that these changes will not only help to deter fraud against the Illinois unemployment benefits system, but will also do away with a $470 million tax increase, as well as a $300 million benefit reduction which were scheduled to take place.

Additional changes to the Act will now allow those laid off workers who are also eligible to receive Social Security benefits to now receive their full unemployment benefit amount. Until now, the state would deduct half of the amount of the claimants Social Security benefit from their unemployment benefit amount. This change will mean an additional $25 million in unemployment benefits to seniors.

With both federal and state employment laws constantly changing and evolving, it is important to have the representation on a skilled DuPage County business law attorney. Call the Law Office of Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC 630-665-2500 to schedule a consultation today.


How Will You Pay for Retirement?

pay for retirement, WheatonAmericans make arrangements for their retirement and other estate planning needs in several different ways. A Gallop poll of over 2,000 adults showed that most Americans are planning to rely on Social Security or retirement accounts for their future. However, the poll also revealed other sources of income that people were planning on utilizing for their golden years.

According to the poll, more than half of those surveyed said they plan on Social Security benefits as being their major source of retirement income. One third said those monthly benefits would actually be their primary source, while 51 percent said it would be a contributing source of their total retirement income.

Retirement accounts were noted as another source of income, yet only 48 percent cited these accounts as a primary source of retirement income. Even less—38 percent—cited 401(k) or IRA accounts as a major source of income. The low number of people counting on retirement accounts, financial analysts say, is due in large part to the recession several years ago. Many people in their fifties do not have nearly enough funds in their accounts to fund their retirement.

Fewer than 40 percent of those surveyed plan on pension funds to pay the bills in retirement. Only 20 percent even expect to receive those payments from former employers.

A surprisingly number of people—18 percent—said they plan on using home equity funds to support their retirement. These survey participants plan on either applying for reverse mortgages or selling their home and downsizing when they retire.

Stocks as retirement income only applied to 11 percent of those polled. Savings accounts and annuity funds were each cited by less than 10 percent of participants. Many of those polled indicated that they planned on working part-time after retirement. In fact, 46 percent cited income from a part-time job as a minor way to supplement retirement.

It is never too early to begin estate planning to ensure that you and your family's financial needs are taken care of in your senior years. Contact an experienced Wheaton estate planning attorney to learn more.

Public Policy Changes May Have Negative Impact on Retirement Plans

IRA distributions, IRA wealth, Illinois estate planning attorney, reduce Social Security benefits, retirement plans, Social Security benefitsIf you are approaching the age of retirement, or are currently planning your finances for your golden years, you probably have been following a set plan. However, a recent article indicates a few proposed changes in the current public policy that are on the table for the 2015 fiscal year budget. And these changes could have a serious impact on retirement plans.

IRA Distributions

Currently, there are no required minimum distributions rules for ROTH IRAs. The pending change would reverse that by implementing required distributions after the owner is 70 ½ years of age. This can cause people to take out more money than they actually need instead of investing it. This has a trickle-down effect that includes higher taxation as well as a higher amount of Social Security being taxed.

Cap on IRA Wealth

Though the cap that is being proposed is substantial, it is still a cap. This change will impact only those that are used to a very high standard of living. The cap will be $3.2 million. Once that cap is reached, no further contributions will be allowed. The worrisome part is that the 401(k) and 403(b) is also included in the figure with the IRA. This would lead to a reduced amount of retirement savings for some.

Social Security Benefits

The proposed reduction of Social Security benefits could potentially be the most damaging as Social Security accounts for nearly 40 percent of retirement income. Possible changes include an extension of the retirement age as well as decreasing the monetary amount of the benefits. However, the greatest proposed change involves the claiming strategies for Social Security as the government is looking to "eliminate aggressive Social Security claiming strategies, which allow upper-income beneficiaries to manipulate the timing of collection of Social Security benefits in order to maximize delayed retirement credits." This could change the planning strategies that are currently in place for middle and lower class retirees.

These changes could significantly impact your retirement planning. Hence, this is why it is so important to meet with an estate planner regularly to review your documents and discuss trusts or other vehicles. For questions regarding the 2015 proposed public policy changes and how they can impact retirement plans, please contact an experienced Illinois estate planning attorney today.