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Understanding Illinois’s One Day Rest in Seven Act Amendment

    Effective January 1, 2023, amendments to the One Day Rest in Seven Act require that employers give non-exempt employees 24 hours of rest in each consecutive seven-day period (as opposed to the prior rule of a day of rest in each calendar week).

    The One Day Rest in Seven Act (ODRISA) has been a longstanding labor law in Illinois, designed to protect the rights of workers by ensuring they receive at least one day of rest in every seven days. However, recent amendments to the Act have sparked discussions and raised questions about its implications. In this blog post, we will delve into the history and purpose of the ODRISA and examine the key points of its latest amendment, shedding light on how it may affect both employers and employees.

    The One Day Rest in Seven Act: A Brief Overview

    The One Day Rest in Seven Act, initially enacted in 1903, is a fundamental labor law in Illinois. Its primary aim is to guarantee that employees have the opportunity for a day of rest within each seven-day workweek. This law was crafted with the well-being of workers in mind, ensuring that they have a reasonable amount of time for rest and recuperation.

    Key Provisions of the Original ODRISA

    The original ODRISA had several key provisions:

    • One Day of Rest: Employers were required to provide employees with at least one day of rest within each seven-day period.
    • Penalties for Non-Compliance: Employers failing to adhere to the ODRISA provisions could face penalties and fines.
    • Exemptions: Certain industries and occupations, such as agriculture and healthcare, were exempt from the Act’s requirements.
    • Collective Bargaining Agreements: The Act allowed for exceptions through collective bargaining agreements.

    Recent Amendment to ODRISA

    In August 2021, a significant amendment to the ODRISA came into effect, bringing about substantial changes to the existing law. The amendment sought to modernize the Act and address some of its shortcomings. Let’s delve into the key points of this amendment.

    Expanding Protections

    The amendment broadened the protection provided to employees under the ODRISA. It now covers a wider range of industries and occupations, ensuring that more workers benefit from the law’s provisions.

    Increased Frequency of Rest Days

    Under the original ODRISA, employees were entitled to one day of rest within a seven-day workweek. The amendment increased the frequency of rest days, providing employees with two days of rest within a fourteen-day work period. This change offers a more balanced approach to rest, accommodating various work schedules.

    Exemptions and Collective Bargaining

    While the ODRISA amendment expands protections, it still allows for exemptions based on industry-specific needs and collective bargaining agreements. This flexibility acknowledges that not all sectors can adhere to the same rules and regulations.

    Enforcement and Penalties

    The amended ODRISA provides for more stringent enforcement mechanisms, including increased penalties for non-compliance. Employers who violate the Act may now face higher fines and penalties, incentivizing adherence to the law.

    Implications of the Amendment

    The ODRISA amendment carries several implications for both employers and employees in Illinois.

    Benefits for Employees

    1. Enhanced Rest Periods: Employees in a broader range of industries can now enjoy more frequent rest days, contributing to better work-life balance and overall well-being.
    2. Increased Protections: The expanded scope of the ODRISA ensures that more employees are covered by its provisions, reducing the risk of exploitation.
    3. Stronger Enforcement: The higher penalties for employers who violate the Act serve as a strong deterrent and offer greater protection for employees.

    Challenges for Employers

    1. Compliance Costs: Employers may face increased costs associated with ensuring compliance with the amended ODRISA, including scheduling and workforce management.
    2. Negotiating Collective Bargaining Agreements: Employers who rely on collective bargaining agreements must navigate the evolving landscape of ODRISA to maintain labor agreements that meet legal requirements.
    3. Penalties and Legal Liabilities: The heightened penalties for non-compliance mean employers must be vigilant in adhering to the law to avoid legal consequences.

    How Employers Can Adapt

    Adapting to the amended ODRISA requires careful consideration and strategic planning. Here are some steps that employers can take to ensure compliance and minimize the challenges posed by the amendment:

    1. Review Existing Policies

    Employers should conduct a thorough review of their existing policies and procedures to ensure they align with the amended ODRISA. This includes examining work schedules, rest periods, and collective bargaining agreements.

    2. Communicate Changes

    Clear and effective communication with employees is essential. Employers should inform their workforce about the changes brought about by the amendment, including the increased frequency of rest days and any modifications to work schedules.

    3. Develop Scheduling Strategies

    To comply with the amended ODRISA, employers may need to develop new scheduling strategies that accommodate the two-day rest requirement within a fourteen-day work period. This might involve optimizing shifts and staffing levels.

    4. Legal Consultation

    Employers should consider seeking legal consultation to ensure they fully understand the implications of the amended ODRISA and to address any specific challenges related to their industry or workforce.


    The amendment to Illinois’s One Day Rest in Seven Act represents a significant shift in labor law, aimed at providing enhanced protections and more balanced work-life conditions for employees. While it poses challenges for employers, it also offers opportunities for fostering a more harmonious and equitable work environment.

    In light of these changes, both employers and employees in Illinois must adapt to the new landscape of labor regulations. By understanding the implications of the ODRISA amendment and taking proactive steps to ensure compliance, businesses can continue to thrive while safeguarding the well-being of their workforce. This evolving labor law is a testament to the importance of balance between productivity and the health and happiness of the workforce.

    Note: Information found on this site is information only and is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please consult your counsel for specific legal advice.