Ordinance approved to expand paid time off for all Chicago workers.

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

The expanded paid leave ordinance passed last week means every worker in Chicago will earn one hour of paid leave for every 35 hours worked. For full-time workers, the new requirement adds up to 10 days of personal time off each year – five sick days and five to be used for any reason.

“Today is a great day for the workers of Chicago, the businesses of Chicago, and the future of Chicago,” Mayor Brandon Johnson said in a news release last Thursday. “This ordinance, accomplished through compromise and collaboration, is an important step on the path to revitalizing the economy of our great city.”

After weeks of negotiations with business groups, the city’s labor unions and supporters of expanded paid leave the plan was scaled back an original proposal to allow for workers to earn up to six days of paid sick leave and six days of paid time off for any reason per year.

Employers would not be required to pay out for any workers’ unused sick leave when they leave the job.

Small employers – 50 or fewer workers – would not be required to pay out unused paid time off, however, employers with 51 to 100 workers would have to pay out up to two days of unused paid time off in 2024, and all unused paid time off starting in 2025. Employers with more than 100 workers would have to pay out any unused paid time off when employers leave the job as soon as the ordinance goes into effect Dec. 31.

“Today is a great day for the workers of Chicago, the businesses of Chicago, and the future of Chicago,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “This ordinance, accomplished through compromise and collaboration, is an important step on the path to revitalizing the economy of our great city.

“Working families are the lifeblood of our city and I am proud that our city has delivered for them once again.”

Research shows that paid sick time and paid time off reduce costs related to absenteeism and turnover for businesses. Workers with paid time off can stay in their jobs longer, earning higher wages they can then spend in their local communities. A lack of paid leave policies increasingly and disproportionately contributes to economic insecurity among lower-paid workers and their families.

“Working class Chicagoans deserve a day off when they need it,” said Ald. Mike Rodriguez, chair of the Workforce Development Committee and sponsor of the Chicago Paid Time Off Ordinance. “The Chicago Paid Time Off Ordinance is a common-sense, compromise approach that supports working people, helps businesses by increasing worker productivity and worker retention, and boosts our economy. I am proud to have sponsored this historic piece of legislation.”

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