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Paid Sick Leave For Employees is Now the Law of the City of Chicago and Cook County: Is Your Company in Compliance?

To the concern of many employers, on July 1, 2017 two new ordinances went into effect in the City of Chicago and Cook County. Employers are upset to learn that they are now required to give employees paid sick days. These ordinances can be confusing; below is a synopsis of the requirements of these two new laws to guide your Company.

New Law #1: City of Chicago

City of Chicago, Illinois Paid Sick Leave Ordinance - effective July 1, 2017. Posting and Notice to Employees required.

Covers all employers: who maintain a business facility within the geographic boundaries of Chicago and/or subject to one or more of the city's licensing requirements.

Covered Employees are those who work at least 80 hours in any 120 day period.

NOTE: Construction employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement are excluded under this law along with some units of governmental entities and motor carriers.

Company must have a Paid Sick Leave Policy which complies with the City of Chicago Municipal Ordinance

Accrual of Paid Sick Leave

Employees who work at least 80 hours in any 120-day period may accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave over the course of one year at a rate of one hour paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.

Exempt employees are assumed to work 40 hours a week, but if their normal workweek is less than 40 hours, then they will accrue sick leave based upon their normal workweek.

Accrual of paid sick leave is calculated in one-hour increments; NOT fractional accruals.

Waiting Period Before Use

Company will bank paid sick leave for the first 180 days after the covered employee starts his or her employment; employee MAY use the accrued paid sick leave thereafter.

Carry Over of Accrued Paid Sick Leave

Employees may carry over half of their unused paid sick leave at the end of the year in an amount not to exceed 20 hours with the remaining balance lost.

Cautionary Note to the Employer: If employer is subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act, the following is required:

Employee may carry over up to 40 hours of unused paid sick leave for use as FMLA leave. If the employee carries over 40 hours of FMLA leave and uses it, employee MAY NOT USE MORE THAN AN ADDITIONAL 20 hours of sick leave during the course of the year.

Separation of Employment

Employee is not entitled to be paid for any accrued unused paid sick leave upon separation of employment.

Use of Paid Sick Leave

The employee may use paid sick leave for the following:

  1. The illness or injury of the employee;
  2. The medical care, treatment, diagnosis, or preventative medical care of the employee;
  3. The illness or injury of the employee's family member or to care for a family member receiving medical care, treatment, diagnosis, or preventative medical care;
  4. If the employee or is or her family member is a victim of domestic violent or a sex offense; or
  5. The Company's place of business is closed due a public health emergency, or employee needs to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to a public health emergency.

Notice Prior to Use of Paid Sick Leave

The Company can require seven days' notice when the need for paid sick leave is reasonably foreseeable.

When not reasonably foreseeable, the Company can require the employee to give notice as soon as practicable.

In the event the employee is absent for three or more consecutive work days, the Company can require documentation to support the employee's request for paid sick leave.

New Law #2: Cook County

Cook County, Illinois Earned Paid Sick Leave Ordinance - effective July 1, 2017

Covers all employers in the County, except where a municipality has opted out where the business facility of the Company is located with some exceptions.

Covered Employees extended to employees who, in any two-week period perform at least two hours of work for an employer while physically present within the geographic boundaries of Cook County, Illinois.

NOTE: Construction employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement are excluded under this law.

Company must have a Paid Sick Leave Policy which complies with the Cook County Ordinance.

NOTICE PRIOR TO USE OF PAID SICK LEAVE

Accrual of Paid Sick Leave

Employees who in any particular two-week period perform at least two hours of work for the Company while physically present within the geographic boundaries of Cook County, Illinois may accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave over the course of one year at a rate of one hour paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.

Exempt employees are assumed to work 40 hours a week, but if their normal workweek is less than 40 hours, then they will accrue sick leave based upon their normal workweek.

Accrual of paid sick leave is calculated in one-hour increments; NOT fractional accruals.

Waiting Period Before Use

Company will bank paid sick leave for the first 120 days after the covered employee starts his or her employment; employee MAY use the accrued paid sick leave thereafter.

Carry Over of Accrued Paid Sick Leave

Employees may carry over half of their unused paid sick leave at the end of the year in an amount not to exceed 20 hours with the remaining balance lost.

Cautionary Note to the Employer: If employer is subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act, the following is required:

Employee may carry over up to 40 hours of unused paid sick leave for use as FMLA leave. If the employee carries over 40 hours of FMLA leave and uses it, employee MAY NOT USE MORE THAN AN ADDITIONAL 20 hours of sick leave during the course of the year.

Separation of Employment

Employee is not entitled to be paid for any accrued unused paid sick leave upon separation of employment.

Use of Paid Sick Leave

The employee may use paid sick leave for the following:

  1. The illness or injury of the employee;
  2. The medical care, treatment, diagnosis, or preventative medical care of the employee;
  3. The illness or injury of the employee's family member or to care for a family member receiving medical care, treatment, diagnosis, or preventative medical care;
  4. If the employee or is or her family member is a victim of domestic violent or a sex offense; or
  5. The Company's place of business is closed due a public health emergency, or employee needs to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to a public health emergency.

Notice Prior to Use of Paid Sick Leave

The Company can require seven days' notice when the need for paid sick leave is reasonably foreseeable.

When not reasonably foreseeable, the Company can require the employee to give notice as soon as practicable.

In the event the employee is absent for three or more consecutive work days, the Company can require documentation to support the employee's request for paid sick leave.

Employers: If you are NOT in compliance, do it NOW: You will need a notice, a posting and a written paid sick leave policy, effective July 1, 2017. Each Employer's situation is different. Contact an experienced employment attorney to make sure your policies are in compliance.

Questions? Need someone to review your paid sick leave policy? Contact Tony Caruso in our St. Charles office at (630) 377-1554 or by email at ancaruso@wesselssherman.com or Sean Darke in our Chicago office at (312) 629-9300 or by email at sedarke@wesselssherman.com.

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