Chicago Passes Paid Sick Leave Law

July 27, 2016

On June 22, 2016, the Chicago City Council unanimously voted to add the city to the list of over 20 cities, five states, and one county that provide paid sick leave by passing its Earned Sick Time ordinance. This ordinance, which will take effect on July 1, 2017, provides more than 460,000 workers in Chicago the ability to earn up to five days of earned sick time per year.

Under the Earned Sick Time ordinance:

  • Workers may accrue and use up to five earned sick days over the course of one year;
  • Workers will earn sick time at a rate of one hour earned for every 40 hours worked;
  • Workers will be able to roll over up to 2.5 days of unused sick days to the following year;
  • New employees can use accrued sick leave after an initial six month probationary period, and employers that offer combined leave benefits, such as Paid Time Off (PTO) are exempt from these requirements so long as employees could accrue and use up to five days of PTO within a calendar year;
  • Employers will not be required to pay out unused sick days; and
  • Sick leave benefits that are negotiated as part of a collective bargaining agreement are exempt.

The Earned Sick Time ordinance enables employees to use sick time to receive medical care, care for a family member, and seek out legal assistance for domestic violence situations.

This blog post was written by Elizabeth Driscoll, a law clerk at Jules Halpern Associates LLC.

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