Chicago Moves Closer to Mandating Paid Leave

Date: April 19, 2016 Last Edit: May 18, 2016

Mayoral task force recommends 5 days of paid leave per year.

Chicago Moves Closer to Mandating Paid Leave

As paid leave bills have begun to advance in the Illinois Legislature, the City of Chicago is also building momentum toward passing its own leave mandate.

At the beginning of the month, the Working Families Task Force released its report that recommended Chicago employers provide at least five paid sick days per year to their employees. Mayor Rahm Emanuel convened the task force in summer 2015 after Chicago voters said yes to a February 2015 ballot question on the topic. The non-binding referendum asked whether private employers in Chicago should be required to offer paid sick leave to their employees for personal or family illness, incidents of domestic or sexual violence, or in the event of a school or building closure due to a public health emergency.

Per the task force’s recommendations, under the proposed paid sick ordinance:

?Workers would be allowed to accrue and use up to 5 paid sick days in a year (1 hour earned for every 40 hours worked).

?New employees could take paid sick days after a six-month probationary period.

?Employees would be allowed to roll over up to 2.5 unused sick days (20 hours) to the following year.

?Employees would be allowed to bank up to 5 days of accrued leave for FMLA purposes.

?Employers who offer paid time off as a general leave benefit—which can typically be used for vacation, personal or sick time—would be exempt if employees can accrue and use 5 days of PTO in a year.

?Employers would not be required to provide a payout of unused sick days when an employee leaves the company.

?Sick leave benefits negotiated as part of a collective bargaining agreement would be exempt.

NFIB opposes paid leave mandates because of the financial and administrative burden placed on small businesses, as well as the loss of flexibility and control over their own operation. Other business groups—such as the Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce—have also spoken out against this proposal.

The proposed ordinance will now go to the Chicago City Council for deliberation.

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