A reminder to all employers with any employees who work in Chicago or elsewhere in Cook County, Illinois: ordinances mandating that you provide paid sick leave to employees who work in Chicago or Cook County take effect July 1, 2017.
As we previously reported here, under the Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (and the almost identical Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance), employers must begin awarding every employee who works in Chicago or Cook County one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, up to at least 40 hours of paid sick leave per year (plus up to at least 20 unused rollover hours from the previous year). Nearly any employee who works at least 80 hours within any 120-day period in either jurisdiction qualifies, but employers may require the employee to wait up to 180 days after starting employment before they may use accrued paid sick leave. Employers can avoid the carryover and accrual requirements by “frontloading” their employees with equal or greater leave at the start of each calendar or benefit year.
Recently released interpretative rules from the City and County have added the following clarifications:
- According to the City’s rules, “[i]n the case of a conflict between the [City’s] Ordinance and the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance, the [City’s] Ordinance shall prevail within the City.”
- After the first year of employment, an employee may use a maximum of 60 hours of paid sick leave (unless the employer has a more generous policy)
- An employee may use paid sick leave in one-hour increments, unless the employer establishes and disseminates a written minimum-use policy
- An employer is not required to allow paid sick leave use while the employee is on disciplinary leave
- Paid sick leave must be paid no later than the next regular payroll period beginning after the leave was used
- The following employees are not covered under either ordinance:
- Employees working in construction covered by a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”)
- Employees covered by a CBA entered into before July 1, 2017
- Employees covered by a CBA entered into on or after July 1, 2017, and that explicitly waives their rights under the ordinance(s)
- Immigration status does not affect an employee’s rights under either ordinance
- A private right of action is possible under both ordinances