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Proposed Amendment to Chicago Ordinance Mandates Paid Sick Leave

April 2016

On April 13, 2016, the Working Families Task Force ("Task Force") proposed an amendment to the existing Chicago Minimum Wage Ordinance that would require employers located in Chicago to provide at least five paid sick days per year to all employees.  The Task Force is comprised of 27 members, including business, government and worker representatives within the City of Chicago. 

Covered employees are those who work a minimum of 80 hours within any 120-day period. Covered employers are employers of all sizes that maintain an office within the City of Chicago or that are subject to City of Chicago licensing requirements.

Under the proposed amendment, employees would accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of five paid sick days per year.  Employees would not be eligible to use accrued paid sick days until they had been employed for 180 days.  This would effectively exclude temporary or seasonal workers from enjoying the same benefit as full-time employees.  And while employees would be eligible to roll over up to 20 hours of unused sick time to the following year, unused sick days would not be paid out upon an employee's separation from his or her employer.

Employers who currently include sick days as part of paid time off benefits will simply need to ensure that they are providing a minimum of 5 paid sick days.  Employers who do not offer paid time off, will need to create a sick leave policy to comply with the proposed amendment.  However, any sick leave benefits that are negotiated as part of a collective bargaining agreement in a unionized workforce would be exempt from the proposed amendment. 

UPDATE:  The amendment was passed on June 22, 2016 and will be effective as of July 1, 2017.  Chicago joins numerous cities and states across the country that have already strengthened sick leave protections for employees.

For more information, please contact Naureen Amjad of Pedersen & Houpt’s Employment Practice Group at 312.261.2273 or namjad@pedersenhoupt.com.