Chicago has passed an ordinance requiring that all employers whose business is located within the city limits or who has licensing agreements with the city provide their employees with paid sick leave. The ordinance, which is an expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act, goes into effect in July of 2017.
The ordinance will give over 460,000 workers paid sick leave they previously did not have, including 78 percent of food service workers. The ordinance allows employees to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked up to five full days a year.
After an initial six month probationary period for new hires, employees will be able to take paid sick leave for their own medical or preventative care or for the medical or preventative care of a child, spouse, parent or other covered family member. They may also take paid leave if they or a family member is a victim of domestic violence, or if there is a public health emergency at their children’s care facility.
Chicago is joining the ranks of roughly twenty cities, including Seattle, Washington DC, and Philadelphia, that have mandated paid sick leave for employees. In addition, four states, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California and Oregon, have passed their own paid sick laws.
In a survey of women living in poverty or at the edge of poverty, 90 percent said paid sick leave would be even more beneficial to their lives than an increased minimum wage, largely because it would guarantee they would not be fired for taking time off to care for their sick children. The United States is the only developed nation in the world not to guarantee paid sick leave.