The City of Chicago Council unanimously approved a new ordinance which went into effect on July 1, 2017. This ordinance requires every employer in Chicago to provide their employees who work within the city limits and work 80 or more hours within a 120-day period with at least some paid time off for sick leave. Employees may use sick leave to care for themselves when they are sick or for their families when they are sick, and if they or a family member have been the victim of domestic violence or sexual abuse. Employers cannot replace the employee on sick leave nor can they condition the employee.
Accrual of Paid Sick Leave begins on an employee’s first day of employment or for current employees, on July 1, 2017 and it is measured from that day forward. Employees have the right to accrue and use up to 5 paid sick days (or 40 hours) per year. This time is earned at a minimum rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked. Employers must allow their employees to roll over up to 20 hours of unused sick leave into the subsequent year. If an employee’s children’s schools are closed because of a public health emergency, employers must allow the employee to use their accrued sick time. Employers subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) must allow each of its employees to carry over up to 40 hours or unused sick time to the following 12-month period to use for FMLA eligible purposes. This is in addition to the 20 hours otherwise allowed.
Employers are allowed to restrict the use of Paid Sick Leave pertaining to new employees until they have reached & completed 6 months of continuous employment. If an employer already has a general Paid Time Off policy in effect that meets or exceeds the required accrual rates, the employer is not required to create a separate paid sick leave policy pertaining to this ordinance. However, the wording of the employer’s policy language must also clearly satisfy the minimum requirements.
Employees who are eligible for paid sick leave and who are eligible for tips must be paid for sick leave at a rate equal to or greater than the current city’s minimum wage. Furthermore, the ordinance does not apply to certain construction workers as employees under collective bargaining agreements have the option to waive the sick leave requirements in their contracts.
In October, 2016, Cook County Board also approved by a majority vote a new sick paid leave ordinance also requiring Employers located within Cook County to provide their employees who work 80 or more hours within a 120-day period with at least some paid time off for sick leave. The ordinance is similar to the same ordinance approved by the City of Chicago and it also went into effect on July 1, 2017.
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