Foodservice Equipment Reports

Chicago City Council Approves Paid Sick Leave

Chicago has joined more than two dozen other U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, in requiring employers to provide paid sick leave. The ordinance, which guarantees nearly every worker in the city up to five days of paid sick days each year, will take effect in July 2017.

The new paid sick leave rules will increase employment costs by up to 1.5%. Employees will accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked, with a limit of five sick days in a 12-month period. "You have to earn it, you don't just get it, by the amount of hours you put in," says Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who referred to it as "earned sick leave."

Although the vote was unanimous for the ordinance, the city’s business community was not pleased. Both the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Retail Merchants Association expressed the view that it would push up employers' costs at a time when they are facing other city government-imposed business costs that include higher minimum wages and property taxes.

"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," Chamber President Theresa Mintle said 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."

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