Update: The Chicago City Council voted to delay the implementation of the new law until July 1, 2024.
The Chicago City Council recently approved the Chicago Paid Leave and Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance to expand paid time off for workers in the city. The ordinance goes into effect on December 31, 2023, and will replace the current Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (PSLO).
Employees are now required to receive 10 days of paid leave, which is considered one of the most generous policies in the country.
The leave is broken up into five sick days and five days of paid time off for any reason.
Reasons for paid leave and paid sick leave
Employees can use paid leave for any purpose and aren’t required to give a reason or submit documentation for using this leave.
However, employers can require employees to give “reasonable” notice (not to exceed seven days before taking paid leave) and obtain “reasonable preapproval” for the paid leave.
An employee can use paid sick leave when:
- the employee is sick, injured, or receiving professional care, including preventative care, diagnosis, or treatment for medical, mental, or behavioral issues, including substance use disorders.
- the employee’s family member is ill, injured, or ordered to quarantine, or the employee is caring for a family member receiving professional care, diagnosis, or treatment for medical, mental, or behavioral issues, including substance use disorders.
- the employee or the employee’s family member is the victim of domestic violence, a sex offense, or trafficking in persons.
- the employee’s family member’s school, class, or place of care has been closed.
- the employee obeys an order issued by the Mayor, the Governor of Illinois, the Chicago Department of Health, or a treating healthcare provider, requiring the employee to:
- stay at home to minimize the transmission of a communicable disease;
- remain at home while sick or experiencing symptoms of a communicable disease;
- obey a quarantine order issued to the employee;
- obey an isolation order issued to the employee.
The new ordinance doesn’t seem to define “family member” for paid sick leave reasons.
Accruing, carrying over, and using paid leave and paid sick leave
Beginning January 1, 2024, or on a covered employee’s first day of employment, whichever is later, an employee must accrue one hour of paid sick leave and one hour of paid leave for every 35 hours worked, up to 40 hours of paid sick leave and 40 hours of paid leave per 12-month period. Leave must accrue in one-hour increments. Employers don’t need to pay an employee for any unused leave time that is not carried over at year-end.
Instead of accruing, employers can grant their employees 40 hours of paid leave and 40 hours of paid sick leave on the first day of employment or the first day of a 12-month accrual period.
Employees may carry over up to 16 hours of paid leave and 80 hours of paid sick leave at the end of their 12-month accrual period. Also, any earned, unused paid sick leave under the PSLO must be transferred to paid sick leave under the new ordinance.
Employees may begin to use paid sick leave on their 30th calendar day of employment and paid leave on their 90th calendar day of employment.
Employers may set minimum increments for the use of leave – four-hour increments for paid leave and two-hour increments for paid sick leave.
Domestic workers included as covered employees
Covered employees include workers “who in any two-week period, performs at least two hours of work for an Employer while physically present within the geographic boundaries of the City.”
The ordinance specifically calls out domestic workers as covered employees:
Covered Employee includes all Domestic Workers regardless of whether they work as employees, independent contractors, sole proprietors, or partnerships.
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