Effective July 1, 2017, Chicago City Ordinance will require employers to provide employees with paid sick leave. This new requirement will apply to all employers, regardless of the number of employees, that maintain a business facility within the geographic boundary of the City or who are subject to one of the City’s licensing requirements. Coverage extends to all employees who perform at least 2 hours of work within the City in any 2-week period and who work at least 80 hours during any 120-day period. Eligibility begins after an initial 6-month probationary period. Employers will be required to provide 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours in each 12-month period. Employees will be allowed to carry over 2.5 paid sick days into the following 12-month period, but employers will not be required to pay employees for unused sick days. Significantly, eligible employees will be able to use paid sick leave for their own illness, injury or medical care, or for that of their covered family members, including domestic partners.
The new City of Chicago employment law is indicative of a growing trend in employment law of providing employees with paid leave of absence for medical care and pregnancy. Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), eligible employees are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of leave, but FMLA leave is unpaid. Congressional legislation may be on the horizon to amend the FMLA to provide paid leave. Additionally, there is pending legislation in Illinois which, if enacted, will provide Illinois employees with paid leave of absence.