Equal Pay Registration Certificate (EPRC) - FAQS

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    Illinois law requires private businesses with 100 or more employees in the State of Illinois* to submit an application to obtain an Equal Pay Registration Certificate (EPRC) by providing certain pay, demographic, and other data to the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) by March 24, 2024, and to recertify every two years after the first submission. The law also requires such employers to submit with their application: (1) the employer's most recently filed Annual Employer Information Report EEO-1 filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; and (2) and a statement certifying that they are in compliance with the Equal Pay Act of 2003 and other State and federal laws related to equal pay.

    Please visit IDOL's Equal Pay Registration Certificate page to access the online portal that businesses must use to submit their contact information and required data to IDOL, a training guide for use of the portal, a compliance statement template, and other certification information and resources.

    Below are answers to frequently asked questions regarding the Equal Pay Registration Certificate and what is required of businesses that are required to obtain a certificate. Please email DOL.EPRC@illinois.gov with any questions not answered below.


    *Per House Bill 4604 of the 102
    nd General Assembly, for the purposes of this requirement, "business" means any private employer who has 100 or more employees in the State of Illinois and is required to file an Annual Employer Information Report EEO-1 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but does not include the State of Illinois or any political subdivision, municipal corporation, or other governmental unit or agency.

     

    I. BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION

    What is the Equal Pay Act of 2003?

    The Equal Pay Act of 2003 ("Equal Pay Act"), 820 ILCS 112 et seq., is an Illinois law that prohibits employers from discriminating between employees on the basis of sex by paying an employee lower wages than an employee of the opposite sex for the same or substantially similar work on jobs that require substantially similar skill, effort, and responsibility, under similar working conditions for the same employer in the same county. As of 2019, the Equal Pay Act also prohibits employers from paying African-American employees less than another employee who is not African-American for the same or substantially similar work.

    For more information on the Equal Pay Act, please visit IDOL's Equal Pay Act Page and Equal Pay Act FAQ Page.

    What is an Equal Pay Registration Certificate?

    An Equal Pay Registration Certificate (EPRC) is a certificate issued by IDOL to businesses that have complied with the requirements of Section 11 of the Equal Pay Act of 2003  

    (820 ILCS 112/11).

    Why does Illinois require large employers to obtain an Equal Pay Registration Certificate?

    In 2021, the Illinois General Assembly passed and Governor Pritzker signed into law PA 101-656 and PA 102-36. These laws amended the Equal Pay Act of 2003 (820 ILCS 112 et seq.) by adding Section 11, which requires all private employers with 100 or more employees in Illinois to submit demographic and wage data to IDOL, along with the employer's most recently filed Annual Employer Information Report EEO-1 and an Equal Pay Compliance Statement certifying that, among other things, the average compensation for its female and minority employees is not consistently below the average compensation for its male and non-minority employees. These legislative changes are intended to promote pay transparency and ensure that all Illinoisians, regardless of their background, receive equal pay for substantially similar work they do on behalf of an employer.

    What is "pay transparency"?

    Pay transparency is the knowledge of what employers pay their workers. The idea behind pay transparency is that secrecy or lack of knowledge and communication surrounding employee compensation can mask racial and gender pay gaps, and that requiring employers to report their pay practices will cause them to examine their pay practices.

    How does the Equal Pay Act allow for increased pay transparency?

    With the addition of Section 11, the Equal Pay Act promotes pay transparency in 4 main ways:

    1.       requires large private employers to file wage data with IDOL, which allows IDOL to review and identify any pay disparity issues with those employers;

    2.       allows IDOL to share the wage data it receives with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, both of which enforce employment discrimination laws;

    3.       allows IDOL to compile aggregate reports based on the wage data submitted that are not required to be kept confidential; however, all individually identifiable employee information is required to be kept confidential under the Equal Pay Act; and

    4.       allows for employees to request certain anonymized data from IDOL regarding their employer as it relates to their classification and pay.

     

    II. WHO IS REQUIRED TO OBTAIN AN EQUAL PAY REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE?

    Which businesses are required to obtain an Equal Pay Registration Certificate? 

    ONLY private employers with 100 employees or more who are required to file an EEO-1 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are required to obtain an Equal Pay Registration Certificate. If you are: (1) a public employer, OR (2) a private employer with 99 or fewer employees, you DO NOT have to obtain an Equal Pay Registration Certificate.

    What date do I go by when determining my total number of employees?

    Your total number of employees is the total number of people employed by your business who worked in or were based out of Illinois on December 31 of the 12-month calendar year immediately prior the year you are required to submit an EPRC application.

    For example: If you are required to submit an EPRC application in 2022, your wage data should be based on the total number of people you employed on December 31, 2021. You would then be required to recertify in 2024, but only if you had 100 or more employees on December 31, 2023.

    I just opened a new business in Illinois, and I have over 100 employees. How do I contact IDOL to request an Equal Pay Registration Certificate application due date?

    To submit your contact information to IDOL, please visit IDOL's EPRC Business Registration Page. Registering on IDOL's EPRC page will inform IDOL that you have 100 or more employees and are required to obtain an Equal Pay Registration Certificate. IDOL will then provide you with an EPRC application due date at least 180 calendar days before your application will be due.

    Our corporate headquarters is out-of-state, but we have locations in Illinois. Which business address should we register?

    You should register the business location that is the main business address you use for correspondence.

         

    III. APPLICATION SUBMISSION PROCESS

    How do I apply for an Equal Pay Registration Certificate?

    An EPRC application requires you to submit to IDOL: (1) a $150 filing fee; (2) wage records, including a copy of your most recently filed EEO-1; and (3) an Equal Pay Compliance Statement. The application must be submitted using IDOL's EPRC portal. For a compliance statement template and for information on how to access the EPRC portal, please visit IDOL's EPRC Homepage. For a flowchart of the EPRC application process, please click here.

    Are there any fees associated with submitting my Equal Pay Registration Certificate application?

    There is a $150.00 filing fee for submitting an EPRC application. This fee must be paid by electronic payment using any major credit or debit card within the portal at the end of the application process. Please see IDOL's EPRC portal training guide for more information on electronic payments.

    What information am I required to submit in my Equal Pay Registration Certificate application?

    A business's EPRC application must include:

    (1)    a copy of the business's most recently filed Annual Employer Information Report EEO-1 filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission;

    (2)    a list of all employees during the 12-month calendar year immediately prior to the application or recertification due date separated by gender and the race and ethnicity categories as reported in the business's most recently filed Employer Information Report EEO-1 in a text-searchable, sortable Microsoft Excel file or comma-separated values file format, as well as any other information required by IDOL on the application form. The business may provide any other information it believes is relevant to explain any pay disparities amongst its employees; and
    (3)    An Equal Pay Compliance Statement signed by a corporate officer, legal counsel, or authorized agent of the business.

    What is an Equal Pay Compliance Statement?

    An Equal Pay Compliance Statement must be submitted as part of your EPRC application. It must be submitted in writing, and must be signed by a corporate officer, legal counsel, or authorized agent of the business submitting the application, certifying:

      1. that the business in compliance with the Equal Pay Act and other relevant laws, including but not limited to, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e), the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (29 U.S.C. 206(d)), the Illinois Human Rights Act (775 ILCS 5), and the Equal Wage Act (820 ILCS 110);
         
      2. that the average compensation for its female and minority employees is not consistently below the average compensation, as determined by rule by the United States Department of Labor, for its male and non-minority employees within each of the major job categories in the Employer Information Report EEO-1 for which an employee is expected to perform work;
         
      3. that the business does not restrict employees of one sex to certain job classifications, and makes retention and promotion decisions without regard to sex;
         
      4. that the business corrects wage and benefit disparities when identified;
         
      5. how often the business evaluates benefits and wages; and
         
      6. the approach the business takes in determining what level of wages and benefits to pay its employees.

    To download an Equal Pay Compliance Statement template, click here.

    When do I need to submit my Equal Pay Registration Certificate application?

    You are required to submit your initial EPRC application between March 24, 2022 and March 23, 2024. IDOL will assign you an application due date that is within this timeframe and will notify you of this due date at least 120 days before your application will be due.

    If you would like to make sure IDOL has your correct contact information, please visit our EPRC Business Registration Page to submit your contact information. Registering on IDOL's EPRC page will inform IDOL that you have 100 or more employees and are required to obtain an Equal Pay Registration Certificate. IDOL will then provide you with an EPRC application due date at least 120 calendar days before your application will be due.

    What is an EEO-1 Report?

    Employers who have at least 100 employees and federal contractors who have at least 50 employees are required to complete and submit an annual EEO-1 Report (a form that requests information about employees' job categories, ethnicity, race, and gender) to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor every year.

    Equal Pay Registration Certificate Process Flowchart


    IV. REPORTING DATA

    My business is based in Illinois, but some of my employees work remotely in places outside of Illinois. Should I include these employees when determining my total number of employees for reporting purposes?

    Yes. All employees of a business based in Illinois should be included in the total employee count, even if the employees are working remotely outside of Illinois. A business with multiple locations should include only the employees whose base location is in Illinois. 

    What date do I go by when determining my total number of employees?

    Your total number of employees is the total number of people employed by your business who worked in or were based out of Illinois on December 31 of the 12-month calendar year immediately prior to the year you are required to submit an EPRC application.

    For example: If you are required to submit an EPRC application in 2022, your wage data should be based on the total number of people you employed who worked in or were based out of Illinois on December 31, 2021.

    If an employee started in their role prior to the EPRC reporting year, but was then promoted during the reporting year, would we list their hire date as the original date they started in their position? How would we indicate their promotion to a new pay rate and job title?

    If an employee is promoted once or multiple times in the course of their employment, you should list the start and end dates for their time in each position, with the corresponding job titles and pay rates.

    For example: If your reporting year is 2021 and a particular employee was hired prior to 2021 but promoted to a new role in that year, you would list their original hire date and then list the termination date as the date they were promoted. You would then create another row for that same employee with the "hire" date as the date they were promoted.    

    What does "wages" mean for reporting purposes?

    "Wages" means any compensation paid to an employee by an employer pursuant to an employment contract or agreement between the two parties, including wages, salaries, earned commissions, earned bonuses, stocks and ownership shares. "Wages" does not include the value of retirement benefits, health insurance benefits, or other fringe benefits. 

    Can I use employee's Annual Salary, W2-Box 1, or W2-Box 5 for wages?

    W2-Box 5 should have the most complete information for the purposes of the EPRC data reporting.

     

    V. CERTIFICATION AND RECERTIFICATION

    What is recertification?

    After you submit your first EPRC application, you will be required to recertify every two years by submitting an updated EPRC application. IDOL will provide you with notice of your recertification due date at least 180 calendar days before your recertification will be due.

    How will I know when it's time for me to recertify?

    IDOL will send you a recertification due date at least 180 days before your recertification will be due.

    My total employee count has dropped below 100, but I just received a letter from IDOL with a recertification due date. What do I do?

    If your total employee count was fewer than 100 employees on December 31 of the year immediately prior to your recertification year, you are not required to recertify. If you are in this situation and receive a notice from the IDOL to recertify, you must notify IDOL and certify in writing to IDOL that you are exempt from the EPRC requirements of Section 11 of the Equal Pay Act. This certification must be on your company letterhead and signed by a senior executive of your company. Exemption certifications must be sent to IDOL via email addressed to DOL.EPRC@illinois.gov, or by U.S. mail addressed to: Illinois Department of Labor: ATTN: Con/Med Division, 160 North LaSalle Street, Suite C-1300, Chicago, IL 60601.  

    I do not have gender, race, or ethnicity data for some of my employees, but this data is required in the Equal Pay Registration Certificate application. How do I report gender, race, and ethnicity for employees who choose not to self-identify those categories?

    If you have employees who have chosen not to identify their race, gender, and/or ethnicity, you may select "choose not to identify" for the applicable category or categories.

    Will an employer's wage data be publicly available?

    Section 11 of the Equal Pay Act allows IDOL to compile aggregate data and reports based on the wage data submitted that include the job category and the average hourly wage by county for each gender, race, and ethnicity category on the EPRC applications. These reports are not required to be kept confidential, but they will not include any data that could be associated to any individual business or person. All such individually identifiable business or person information is required to be kept confidential under Section 11, with two exceptions:

    (1)    A current employee of a business subject to Section 11 may request anonymized data regarding their job classification or title and the pay for that classification. No individually identifiable information may be provided to an employee making such a request.

    (2)    IDOL may share data and identifiable information with the Department of Human Rights, pursuant to its enforcement of Article 2 of the Illinois Human Rights Act, or the Office of the Attorney General, pursuant to its enforcement of Section 10-104 of the Illinois Human Rights Act.

     

    VI. NONCOMPLIANCE; PENALTIES

    What if an employer's wage data shows that it is not paying its employees equally?

    If the wage data submitted in an employer's EPRC application shows that the employer is paying unequal wages to men and women employees or to African-American and non-African American employees, IDOL may initiate its own investigation pursuant to Sections 10(a) and 15(c) of the Equal Pay Act and Section 320.200 of the Equal Pay administrative regulations.

    What happens to businesses who do not comply with the Equal Pay Registration Certificate requirements of Section 11 of the Equal Pay Act?

    A private employer who has 100 or more employees in Illinois and is required to file an annual EEO-1 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and who commits a violation of Section 11 shall be fined up to $10,000.

    Before any fines can be imposed for a violation of Section 11(b) of the Equal Pay Act, IDOL shall provide notice to an employer with 100 or more employees who violates Section 11(b) and inadvertently fails to file an initial EPRC application or recertification that they have 30 calendar days to submit the application or recertification.

    What happens if an employer falsifies or misrepresents information in their Equal Pay Registration Certificate application?

    Falsification or misrepresentation of information on an EPRC application submitted to IDOL is a violation of the Equal Pay Act and IDOL may seek to suspend or revoke an Equal Pay Registration Certificate or impose civil penalties up to $10,000.