Illinois public works projects must hire Illinois residents to offset unemployment

THE EMPLOYMENT of Illinois Workers on Public Works Act requires contractors to prioritize the hiring of Illinois workers when the state’s unemployment rate is high.

Springfield, IL – At least 90 percent of hires for public works projects in Illinois must be Illinois residents, as of July 1, under a rule triggered when unemployment is high.

The Employment of Illinois Workers on Public Works Act, administered by the Illinois Department of Labor, calls for 90 percent of workers on public works projects or improvements to be state residents.

The Illinois unemployment rate went from 4.2 percent in March to 17.2 percent in April and 15.2 percent in May because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Contractors are now required to prioritize Illinois workers, Attorney General Kwame Raoul said.

“My office stands ready to work with the Department of Labor to enforce the law and ensure that public works projects, which are funded by Illinois taxpayers, are completed using the best workforce in the country,” Raoul said.

The law covers projects funded in whole or in part with state funds, or with funds administered by the state, including projects with federal funding.

Department of Labor Director Michael Kleinik noted that the law had not been triggered in recent years because of low unemployment.

“As we all deal with the far-reaching impact of this pandemic, the Department of Labor wants to remind public officials and employers of the requirements of this law,” he said.


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