By Gregory S. Dowell
August 10, 2017
Quietly and with virtually no advanced warning, Cook County passed the “Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance” (Ordinance 16-4229). This ordinance provides that, as of July 1, 2017, employers in Cook County are required to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Making this more confusing, many municipalities in Cook County have opted out.
The following are some of the key elements of the ordinance:
- Employees must be notified of the ordinance provisions (a poster that can be displayed is available on the Cook County website, see below for the web address).
- Covered employees who work at least 80 hours for an employer within any 120-day period are eligible to accrue paid sick leave.
- A “covered” employee is one who, in any particular 2-week period, performs at least 2 hours of work for an employer while physically present within the geographic boundaries of Cook County.
- Paid sick leave must begin to accrue either on the first calendar day after the start of employment or on July 1, 2017, whichever is later.
- 1 hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked must be accrued for each employee.
- An employee must be able to carry over to the next year half of the unused accrued sick leave, up to a maximum of 20 hours.
- Employers must allow employees to begin taking paid sick leave no later than the 180th calendar day after employment begins.
We are not employment law specialists, but wanted to pass along this information so that you can see how this might affect your business. As referenced above, many Cook County suburbs have opted out of the ordinance, and we suggest calling your local municipality to see if it has opted
out. At the very least, if your business is affected by this ordinance you will want to reflect on your paid sick leave policy and see how it might need to be amended, and you will want to display the required poster in your place of business. For more information, a list of frequently asked questions, and the employer poster, please see the link at the Cook County website at
As another reminder, the minimum wage increases to $10 per hour on July 1, 2017 for employees who have worked for an employer with 4 or more employees in Cook County for at least 2 hours
in any 2-week period. The employer must maintain a business facility within Cook County or have a license issued by Cook County. The City of Chicago increased its minimum wage to $11 per hour on July 1, 2017.