Public works jobs are available to Illinois residents if they are out of work. The Employment of Illinois Workers on Public Works Act took effect on July 1st requiring the workforce on all public works projects funded all or partially by the state to be comprised of a minimum of 90% Illinois residents.
Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Labor Jason Keller says the point behind the act is to put people back to work: “When we see high unemployment in the state, the law says that it wants Illinois workers on state-funded projects or being funded by state tax dollars. We are going to start enforcing this act, and looking at public works projects. Of course we would look at any complaints that would come through our department regarding projects that are contracted through partners that may not be following the law.”
The enforcement mechanism would come through the office of the Illinois Attorney General.
The state unemployment rate was up above 15% in May and over 17% in April due to the coronavirus pandemic. IDOL wants to remind public bodies that the law is now in force due to those 2 straight months of record high unemployment. The law hasn’t been triggered in recent years because unemployment in the state sat below 5%. The requirement to employ 90% Illinois workers applies to all labor on public works projects or improvements, including projects involving the clean-up and on-site disposal of hazardous waste in which the state administers partial or all of the funding.