Illinois: Chicago Voters Show Support for Paid Sick Leave

Voters in Chicago signaled support for paid sick leave through approval of a nonbinding referendum, according to unofficial results from the city's Feb. 24 municipal general election.

The voter approval indicated support for paid leave for workers. The Chicago Earned Sick Time Ordinance (No. O2014–1551), a separate legislative effort being considered by the city council, was introduced in 2014.

If passed, the ordinance would require employers to provide earned sick time to full-time, part-time, temporary and domestic employees working in the city. Employees would accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and accrual would begin on the later of either commencement of employment or the effective date of the law. Employees could start using earned sick leave on the later of the 120th day of employment or 120th day following the effective date of the ordinance.

For large employers, those with at least 10 employees, accrual would be capped at 72 hours of accrued sick leave a year and for small employers, those with less than 10 employees, accrual would be capped at 40 hours. Under the ordinance, for foreseeable absences, employers could require at least seven days of advance notice that earned sick time will be used. More generous leave policies would be authorized under the ordinance.

For more information, see Compensation and Benefit Library's “Sick Leave and Pay” chapter.