Protecting Employers Since 1985

Illinois’ Sick Leave Saga

As most of the Employers in the State of Illinois are aware, there has been recent activity by the City of Chicago, the County of Cook and the Illinois State Legislature to create specific provisions providing “Sick Leave” for Employees.

The City of Chicago City Council enacted the Chicago Ordinance that provides up to forty (40) hours of Paid Sick Leave per year, which is effective July 1, 2017. Obviously, the City of Chicago Ordinance is effective only within the geographical boundaries of the City of Chicago, but does affect any Employer who sends an individual to work within the City Limits for at least two (2) hours in any two (2) week pay period within the jurisdiction.

The County of Cook established its own Sick Leave Ordinance, also effective July 1, 2017, that follows essentially the form and substance the City of Chicago Ordinance, but has application within the jurisdiction of Cook County. It should be noted that at least two (2) Municipalities (Barrington and Mt. Prospect) have, by the concept of Home Rule, attempted to exclude themselves from coverage of the Cook County Sick Leave Ordinance.

Additionally, the “geniuses” in the State Legislature who have been unable to come up with a budget for the last two (2) years, could not stand on the sidelines and thus enacted their own Sick Leave Act, effective as of January 1, 2017. That Act requires Employers who already provide Sick Leave to Employees to allow those Employees to use at least half of that Sick Leave entitlement to care for “family members” as well as themselves. The Act defines a “family member” as follows:

  • Child, including Stepchild
  • Spouse or Domestic Partner
  • Sibling
  • Parent
  • Parent-in-Law
  • Grandchild
  • Grandparent or Stepparent

Obviously, any Employer within the State of Illinois will be subject to the State Law and certainly those working within the jurisdiction of the City of Chicago or County of Cook will also be subject to those Ordinances. If case law follows its normal parlance, an Employer will be required to implement the “most favorable” provisions of the Act/Ordinance that may apply.

Every Employer who is covered by these Acts must take action to protect their interests:

  • Review the applicable Ordinance or Act and determine what is necessary for compliance.
  • Post any and all required Notices issued by the City of Chicago, County of Cook or State of Illinois dealing with these various Laws.
  • Train Supervisory and Management Staff with regard to actions that can and cannot be taken based on Employee use of Paid Sick Time.
  • Establish a budget to cover additional payments to involved Employees for Sick Leave.
  • Establish a Business Plan to deal with absences that may affect production or scheduling changes.

Obviously, Employers in the State of Illinois will be impacted by one (1) or more of these new Laws. As the old adage states, “Preparation is 9/10% of the Law”.

Questions? Contact Attorney Walter Liszka in our Chicago office at (312) 629-9300 or by email at

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