Unleashing Economic Freedom: The Illinois Freedom to Work Act

In a dynamic world where the nature of work is evolving rapidly, the Illinois Freedom to Work Act stands as a beacon of hope for both employees and employers alike. This legislation, enacted in 2017, brought about significant changes in Illinois’ labor laws, fostering a more flexible and worker-friendly environment. In this blog post, we will delve into the key provisions of the Illinois Freedom to Work Act and explore how it has reshaped the employment landscape in the state.

Understanding the Illinois Freedom to Work Act

The Illinois Freedom to Work Act is a landmark piece of legislation designed to empower workers and enhance economic freedom. It eliminates the use of non-compete agreements for low-wage employees, providing them with the opportunity to seek employment without restrictions after leaving a job. The act was signed into law by then-Governor Bruce Rauner and has since created a more level playing field for employees in Illinois.

Key Provisions of the Act

  1. Non-Compete Agreements Limited: One of the primary aims of the Illinois Freedom to Work Act is to restrict the use of non-compete agreements for low-wage employees. This means that workers in lower-income positions are no longer bound by these restrictive covenants that prevented them from pursuing similar roles in the same industry after leaving their current job.
  2. Minimum Wage Threshold: To be considered a low-wage employee under the act, the individual’s earnings must not exceed the greater of either the applicable federal, state, or local minimum wage. This ensures that the legislation targets those who are most vulnerable to exploitation in the labor market.
  3. You must be given 14 days to review the agreement and told you have an opportunity for lawyer to review of the agreement.
  4. Protecting Employee Rights: The Act empowers workers by allowing them to challenge non-compete agreements in court. If an employer enforces an invalid non-compete agreement against a low-wage employee, the employee can seek legal remedies, including injunctive relief and damages.

The Impact of the Illinois Freedom to Work Act

The Illinois Freedom to Work Act has had far-reaching effects on the state’s employment landscape, benefitting both workers and employers. Here’s how:

  1. Job Mobility: By eliminating the shackles of non-compete agreements for low-wage workers, the act has boosted job mobility. Employees can now pursue new opportunities within their industry without the fear of legal repercussions.
  2. Economic Freedom: The act has reinvigorated the spirit of economic freedom in Illinois. Workers are now free to make career choices that align with their skills and aspirations, ultimately leading to a more dynamic labor market.
  3. Entrepreneurship: With fewer restrictions on employee mobility, more individuals are encouraged to start their own businesses or enter into entrepreneurial ventures. This fosters innovation and competition in the marketplace.
  4. Legal Accountability: Employers must carefully evaluate the applicability of non-compete agreements and ensure they comply with the law. This has led to a more equitable and transparent labor environment.


The Illinois Freedom to Work Act is a significant step toward creating a more worker-friendly and economically vibrant environment in the state. By restricting the use of non-compete agreements for low-wage employees, the act has empowered workers, encouraged entrepreneurship, and enhanced job mobility. As Illinois continues to evolve in the modern labor landscape, this legislation will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in promoting economic growth and individual freedom.

Contact one of our non-compete agreement lawyers for a free consultation at 630-333-0333 or contact us online here.

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