Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger on Monday announced her office has finished processing payroll for July 15, ensuring that all state employees will receive their scheduled paychecks without interruption.
The action comes after a St. Clair County Court last week granted Munger’s request to pay all state employees to comply with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and avoid fines totaling three times the amount of missed payrolls.
“Paying all state employees is the right, legal and fiscally responsible thing to do and I appreciate the court’s authorization to move forward,” Munger said. “We are simply compensating workers for services they are already providing the state and ensuring that we are in compliance with federal law. To do otherwise would not only cause hardship to tens of thousands of employees and their families, but also make the state vulnerable to staggering penalties that we cannot afford.”
The Fair Labor Standards Act requires the state pay “covered” employees at minimum wage or face fines from the federal government. However, Illinois’ antiquated payroll systems make it impossible to swiftly determine which of the state’s 65,000 employees fall under the designation. Even when the respective employees are identified, the antiquated systems require Comptroller’s Office personnel to manually enter tens of thousands of reductions in pay rate and corresponding changes in deductions and benefits.
Given those realities, Munger and the Governor’s Office of Central Management Services last week asked the court to allow the state to run full payroll to ensure compliance with the federal law. A Cook County Court initially directed the state to pay only minimum wage for “covered” employees but that decision was later stayed by an appellate court. On Thursday, a St. Clair County Court granted Munger’s request to run full payroll, giving her the court order she needed to legally move forward.
“While the legal process will continue to play out, I am confident that the court will ultimately see that paying all state employees is the best and only way to protect the state from significant federal fines,” Munger said. “At the same time, it provides welcome relief to workers across the state, including those on the front line in serving our communities and most vulnerable residents.”