BY JEN KINNEY | JUNE 23, 2016
This week Chicago’s city council approved a paid sick leave ordinance, ensuring that nearly every Windy City worker will have the right to earn up to five days of paid sick leave. The city joins over two dozen others in the U.S., including New York and Los Angeles, in requiring employees to provide that protection. When the legislation goes into effect next year, it will extend the right to more than 460,000 workers. Construction workers were excluded, reports the Chicago Tribune, because they tend to work for more than one employer over the course of a year.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel characterized the ordinance as “earned sick leave,” because employees will accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours labored. “You have to earn it, you don’t just get it, by the amount of hours you put in,” he said.
Even though numerous studies have shown that paid sick leave has a minimal negative impact on employer expenses and a significant positive impact on employee productivity and morale, Chicago’s business community opposed the ordinance. “It’s unfortunate the City Council refuses to consider the overall effects of the litany of new rules, regulations and costs they place on employers,” said Chicagoland Chamber President Theresa Mintle in a statement. “Businesses don’t operate in silos, and this mandated paid sick leave is another cost neighborhood businesses will have to absorb at a time when they can least afford it.”