Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot recently signed an ordinance to create new wage theft protections and expand upon the covered reasons for paid sick leave. The ordinance applies to any business operating in the city of Chicago and is part of the mayor’s ChiBiz Strong Initiative.
The city of Chicago already requires employers to provide paid sick leave to any employee working at least 80 hours within any 120-day period. The amount of leave accrues based on the number of hours worked. With the new ordinance, the reasons for using that leave have been expanded as shown here, courtesy of the attorneys at Littler law firm. These revisions will take effect on August 1, 2021.
|Current reasons||Covered reasons as of August 1, 2021|
|The employee is ill or injured, or for the purpose of receiving medical care, treatment, diagnosis, or preventive medical care||The employee is ill or injured, or for the purpose of receiving professional care, including preventive care, diagnosis, or treatment, for medical, mental, or behavioral issues, including substance abuse disorders|
|A covered family member is ill or injured, or to care for a family member receiving medical care, treatment, diagnosis, or preventive medical care||A covered family member is ill or injured, or ordered to quarantine, or to care for a family member receiving professional care, including preventive care, diagnosis, or treatment, for medical, mental, or behavioral issues, including substance abuse disorders|
|The employee, or a covered family member, is the victim of domestic violence or a sex offense||The employee, or a covered family member, is the victim of domestic violence or a sex offense (stalking, aggravated stalking, cyber stalking)|
|The employee’s place of business is closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency||(No Change)|
|The employee needs to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency||The employee needs to care for a family member whose school, class, or place of care has been closed|
|(New Reason)||An employee obeys an order issued by the mayor, the governor of Illinois, the Chicago Department of Public Health, or a treating healthcare provider, requiring the employee: to stay at home to minimize the transmission of a communicable disease, to remain at home while experiencing symptoms or sick with a communicable disease, to obey a quarantine order issued to the employee, or to obey an isolation order issued to the employee|
|Federal Family and Medical Leave Act eligible purposes||(No Change)|
The sick leave ordinance has a workplace posting requirement and employers are also required to provide a copy of the city-created notice to employees included with a paycheck issued no later than July 31, 2021. If checks are issued electronically, another method of notification should be provided.
The ordinance also added wage theft protections to those working within the city limits for the first time. This portion of the ordinance helps guarantee employees are paid for all time worked in a timely manner. It also ensures the payment of any available paid time off, including Chicago paid sick leave, and any other benefits that are required under contract. Any employee that has performed at least two hours of work in any two-week pay period while physically present in the city of Chicago is covered.
It is also recommended that employers affected by the new sick leave ordinance review current policies and make any necessary updates prior to August 1, 2021. Current versions of the city’s sick pay notice should be updated and placed in conspicuous areas at each work location. If electronic postings are used, they should be posted in a location that all employees can easily access them.