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Chicago Task Force Proposes 5 Days Of Paid Sick Leave For Employees

Poised to join the increasing number of cities that require paid sick leave, the Working Families Task Force (commissioned by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel) recently recommended that employees in Chicago be allowed to earn at least 5 paid sick days each year. The task force is comprised of 27 members, including business, government and worker representatives, and this proposal stems from a non-binding February 2015 referendum where nearly 82% of Chicago voters voiced support for paid sick leave.

On April 3, 2016, the task force provided the following recommendations for the proposed paid sick leave ordinance:


  • It would apply to employers of all sizes;

  • Employees would earn 1 hour of sick time for every 40 hours worked, up to 5 days in a year;

  • Employees would be eligible to “roll over” up to 20 hours of unused sick time to the following year;

  • New employees would not be able to use paid sick days until they had been employed for 180 days (thus exempting many seasonal or temporary employees);

  • Employees would be allowed to bank up to 5 days of earned sick leave to use for purposes of leave pursuant to the FMLA;

  • Unused sick days would not be paid out upon an employee’s exit from the company;

  • Employers that lump sick days into general paid-time-off benefits would not have to change their practices as long as the benefits include at least 5 days off; and

  • Sick leave benefits negotiated as part of a collective bargaining agreement would be exempt from the ordinance.

This proposed ordinance will progress to the Chicago City Council for deliberation. It serves as an important reminder of the growing trend in sick leave protections around the country.  Employers should review their paid time off policies to ensure compliance at both the state and local level.

© 2020 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume VI, Number 96


About this Author

Steven J Pearlman, Labor Employment Law Firm, Proskauer Law firm

Steven Pearlman is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the firm's Whistleblowing & Retaliation Group, resident in the Chicago office. Steven’s practice focuses on defending complex employment litigation involving claims of discrimination and harassment, wage-and-hour laws and breaches of restrictive covenants (e.g., non-competition agreements). He has successfully tried cases to verdict before judges and juries in Illinois, Florida and California, and defended what is reported to be the largest Illinois-only class action in the history of the U.S....

Edward C. Young, Proskauer Rose, Harassment Lawyer, Labor Rights Attorney

Edward C. Young is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department. He represents companies nationwide in a broad range of employment issues, including discrimination, retaliation and harassment claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Family Medical Leave Act, as well as other federal and state employment statutes and various common law torts. In addition, Eddie represents employers in trade secret matters and challenges to the independent contractor status of workers.

Prior to attending law school, Eddie earned his master’s degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from Loyola University while working for more than three years in the corporate human resources department of a national professional services firm. Eddie also served as a Coles Fellow with the Illinois Human Rights Commission.

Eddie is a co-author of “Discrimination Law Basics,” which was presented at the Practicing Law Institute’s Understanding Employment Law Conference in 2014.