Some municipalities are taking another look at sick-leave policies and paid time off, and are requiring employers to be more generous with such benefits than what has been historically offered. This is what Chicago and Cook County are doing — and this just might be the beginning of a trend.
The intention of the ordinance — to let workers earn five paid sick days per year — is straightforward. The old saw “The devil is in the details” is where the headaches come in. Be ready if your area likes what it sees, because other cities and counties may soon alter their policies.
First — what's happening in Chicago and Cook County? And how can that affect you even if you say, “Hey, I do business in Wyoming”?
Requiring that nearly all employees — part-time, seasonal and temporary — can accrue an hour of sick time for every 40 hours worked is the main gist of the new ordinance. Employers can cap the total sick time earned at no less than 40 hours, or five days, a year.
Employers must allow workers to carry unused sick time over to the next year, which is not part of many owners' current policies. This may get complicated, particularly in considering whether the employer and worker are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, which provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for a newborn or to attend to a personal or family member's serious illness.
Consider this: Even if you have no physical offices or facilities in the jurisdiction of Chicago or Cook County now, you may want to be sure whether the PSLOs apply in any way in these municipalities — or listen to the groundswell to see whether your area is thinking of change in this respect. Here are some other fine points regarding what is out there now:
The basic intention of making sure that workers who didn't get any paid sick leave before have access to it now is reasonable. Making sure your company is in compliance may not be as straightforward. Of course, this is just a basic summary of a complex series of regulations, but the two takeaways here are (1) this ordinance can affect even companies with only a tenuous connection to Chicago and Cook County, and (2) something like this may come next to your state or municipality.
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