A Business Nightmare: A patchwork of Sick Leave Laws
On July 1, 2017, the Cook County and Chicago Sick Leave Ordinances and new minimum wage went into effect. Although the Cook County and Chicago Sick Leave ordinances are very similar, there are differences, especially with the final rule publish. Cook County Sick Leave applies to the unincorporated parts of Cook County and to any municipality that has not opted out of the county law. Currently roughly 90% of the cities and villages have opted out of the county sick leave and minimum wage law. Although Chicago has it’s own sick leave ordinance, Chicago has not opted out of the County’s ordinance and thus employers within Chicago will need to maintain strict vigilance to be compliant with both overlapping ordinances.
Cook County Sick Leave Highlights
Employers who have 1 or more employee within Cook County must provide sick leave to their employees. The only exception to this rule is if the employee works in a location that has opted out of the ordinance or if the employee works 2 hours or less in a 2 week period. All types of employees are covered including full time and part time, seasonal, occasional work, temporary, new and rehired employees.
Employees began earning sick leave on July 1st. New employees will start earning sick leave on the first date of employment. Existing employees have immediate access to earned sick leave hours, but new employees can be restricted from using sick leave until they have been employed for 180 days.
Employees will earn 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. Sick leave is awarded in full 1 hour increments and so employers do not have to award sick leave in partial increments. An employee who has worked 39 hours still has not accrued any sick leave until they work a full 40. Sick leave can also be limited to 40 hours in a year.
Employees must be allowed to roll up to 20 hours of unused, accrued sick leave to the following year. If the employer is covered under FMLA, then employees must be allowed to roll up to 40 hours of sick leave to the following year to be used for FMLA purposes only.
Employers can avoid rolling sick leave to the following year by front loading sick leave at the beginning of the year. Unused sick leave does not have to be paid out to an employee upon termination of employment.
Sick leave can be used for the employee’s or employee’s family member’s own injury, illness, treatment, or preventative care. It can also be used if a child’s school or place of care is closed due to a public health crisis. Lastly, it can be used if the employee or a family member is the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
FMLA restricted use under the Sick leave Ordinance, up to an extra 20 hours a year, can be used for FMLA purposes, including bonding time with a new child. This is vital for employers to understand so that they do not violate the Cook COunty Sick Leave Laws when allowing employees to take time under FMLA.
Let SwipeClock Help
Businesses who have employees anywhere in Cook County, and especially in Chicago likely have to comply with multiple conflicting City and County ordinances defining Sick leave accrual and minimum wage laws.
Additionally, these businesses have to also comply with Federal Overtime Laws, the Family Medical Leave Act and any other national or local laws that are enacted. SwipeClock provides a comprehensive array of workforce management and time tracking tools that can help businesses to more easily stay in compliance with local and national laws.
Records are effortlessly kept for years and accrual is automatically tracked and reported to employees according the state and city laws. Additionally, with geo-timekeeping clocks, businesses can effortlessly track time worked in specific cities to ensure compliance.
Written by Annemaria Duran. Last updated July 28. 2017