If you are a contract worker or day laborer, you have a right to the following:
- Written information about the terms and conditions of the employment
- A separate paycheck for each worker, even if several family members work together
- Pay stubs showing how your wages were calculated
- Medical care, if you are injured or get sick on the job
- Minimum wage ($8.25 per hour in Illinois), even if you’re paid by “piece rate” or by “the acre”
Employers can only charge you for the actual price of a meal. They can also only charge you for meals you consume.
Employers may not charge fees for transportation to/from work sites. They should provide provide safe transportation, such as enough seats and seatbelts for each passenger in the vehicle.
Pesticides are poisons that are used to kill bugs. They can poison your water supply, your food, and your children.
The following symptoms are signs that you might be poisoned by pesticides:
- Skin rashes
- Eye irritation
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty breathing
- Numbness or tingling in your limbs
Poison is serious and should be treated right away. Otherwise, you may experience cancer, birth defects, or harm to your kidneys, liver, or nervous system.
If you come into contact with pesticide, remove your clothes and wash yourself with water. Get the name of the pesticide or the label of the container and go to the nearest medical facility as soon as possible.
If you can, take a sample of the crop containing the pesticide to the medical facility. If you can’t get to a doctor, call the pesticide control hotline at 1-800-222-1222.
Workers can apply for unemployment benefits when a job ends. Unemployment benefits are provided by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).
Workers can apply for benefits at a local IDES office or on the IDES website.
Learn more about Unemployment benefits.
If you receive a letter from the IRS, you should talk to a lawyer right away.Have you ever asked yourself:
- Who can I claim as dependents?
- What is an ITIN and how do I file tax returns if I don’t have a social security number?
- I am married. Should I file as “Head of Household” or should I file a joint return?
- I am here on an H-2A visa. Do I have to file tax returns? Will I owe any taxes?
- I am in the country legally, but my spouse and children do not have social security numbers. Can I include them in my tax returns?
- Who can help me prepare my tax returns?
If so, contact the Illinois Migrant Legal Assistance Project (IMLAP): 1-800-445-9025
Right to SNAP benefits (Food Stamps)
SNAP benefits (food stamps)
United States citizens are eligible to apply for SNAP benefits. Lawful Permanent Residents might also be eligible to apply for SNAP benefits. If your household has someone who is eligible to apply, you may apply for that person, even if you are not eligible. Don’t be afraid to apply for benefits on behalf of a household member. The Department of human Services, or the DHS, can only ask about the immigration status of the people on the application who are actually asking for benefits.
SNAP benefits in Illinois
If you are a migrant farm worker who just arrived in Illinois, with little or no money, who does not anticipate earning money right away might be able to get Food Stamps fast. If so, the DHS must provide food stamps, no later than 5 days after:
- The date you applied; or
- The date DHS discovers you are eligible for expedited service.
If you apply for SNAP benefits and are cut off or denied (or denied an opportunity to apply), ask for the decision in writing. Contact Illinois Migrant Legal Assistance Project (IMLAP) immediately at 1-800-445-9025 for help with your case. You must appeal within 90 days or you will lose your right to challenge the decision.
If you are coming from another state and you have an open SNAP benefit case in that state, you must close that SNAP benefit case before you get benefits in Illinois. It may be difficult to close your case in another state once you are living here, so do it before you leave.
Learn more about Getting food stamps (SNAP).
Illinois minimum wage: [custom:il-mimimum-wage]
The Illinois minimum wage is $8.25 per hour. If you work on a piece-rate basis or per acre, your employer must pay you at least the minimum wage for all hours worked, even if you do not pick enough to earn the minimum wage per hour.
Learn more about Recovering unpaid wages.
Health in the field
Employers must give all workers who work in the field cool and clean drinking water, toilets, and hand-washing facilities with soap and disposable towels. It is illegal if there is not:
- One facility for every 20 workers
- Clean drinking water
- A hand-washing facility located within a quarter of a mile from any worker
Employers must allow each employee reasonable chances to drink water and use the facilities. The use of common drinking cups or dippers is not allowed.
Family and Medical Leave Act
The Family and Medical Leave act (FMLA) may allow you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work when you are experiencing a serious health condition or if you need to care for your child, parent, or spouse with a serious medical condition.
You must work for a covered employer to qualify. This means:
- Your employer has 50 or more workers within 75 miles of the worksite;
- You have worked for this employer for at least 12 months; and
- You have worked at least 1250 hours in the last 12 months.
There are very specific rules on requesting FMLA leave. You must follow these rules in order to get your FMLA leave request approved. You will also be required to get a medical certification from your doctor.
When you request FMLA leave, you are entitled to return to the same or equivalent job with the same benefits, pay, and terms and conditions. You must be able to perform “essential” functions of the position.
If an employer violates your rights under the FMLA, you can be entitled to get your job, lost wages, and attorney’s fees back.
An employer cannot punish you for asserting your rights under the FMLA.
If you are dealing with any of these issues, you can call the Illinois Migrant Legal Assistance Project (IMLAP) toll-free at 1-800-445-9025.