United States: Chicago Employers Must Grant Paid Sick Time: FAQ

The Chicago City Council today voted unanimously in favor of an ordinance that will require every non-construction employer to provide its employees who work in the city with 40 hours of paid sick time per year. Chicago thus joins more than a dozen other states and cities around the country, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, the District of Columbia, and several cities in New Jersey, in requiring employers to grant employees paid sick days. The ordinance will go into effect July 1, 2017.

The following describes key provisions of the ordinance:

Which employers are covered?

  • Every employer that employs anyone in Chicago, except for employers in the construction industry.

Which employees will be eligible?

  • Every Chicago employee of a covered employer who works at least 80 hours in any 120-day period.

How will eligible employees accrue paid sick time?

  • Employees will begin accruing paid sick time when they start employment.
  • Unless the employer sets a higher rate of accrual, employees will accrue paid sick time at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum accrual of 40 hours of paid sick time in a 12-month period, starting on the date that the employee began to accrue.
  • Paid sick time will accrue in units of an hour, not fractions of an hour.
  • Exempt employees will be treated as having a 40-hour workweek unless the employer can show that the normal workweek is shorter than that.

When will employees be able to use accrued paid sick time?

  • Only after they have been employed for 180 days. That means some short-term or temporary employees may never get to use their accrued paid sick time.

For what reasons will an eligible employee be able to use paid sick time?

  • When the employee is ill or injured;
  • When the employee needs medical care (whether diagnostic, preventive, or for treatment);
  • When a family member of the employee is ill or injured ("family member" means the employee's child, legal guardian or ward, spouse, domestic partner, parent, spouse or domestic partner's parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or "any other individual related by blood or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship");
  • When the employee is needed to care for a family member who is receiving medical care (whether diagnostic, preventive, or for treatment);
  • When the employee or a family member is a victim of domestic violence or a sex offense; or
  • When the employer's place of business is closed because of public health emergency.

What notice will an employer be allowed to require from an employee?

  • If an employee's use of paid sick time is reasonably foreseeable, such as for a planned medical appointment or for a court hearing in a domestic violence case, the employer may require up to one week of advance notice. The employer cannot require the employee to arrange for coverage by a co-worker.
  • If an employee's use of paid sick time is not reasonably foreseeable, the employer may require that the employee give as much notice as is practicable on the day the employee is absent, with such notice by phone, email, or text message, unless the employee is unconscious or medically incapacitated.

Will an employer be able to require proof that an employee was using paid sick time for a reason covered by the ordinance?

  • If an employee is absent for three consecutive work days, the employer may require proof that the absence was legitimate, such as a note from a doctor; but unless required by law, the employer cannot require that note to identify the illness, injury, or medical condition of the employee or family member.
  • If an employee is absent for reasons related to domestic violence or a sex offense, the employer may require that the employee provide a police report, court document, or a written statement from an attorney, a member of the clergy, the employee, "or any other person who has knowledge of the circumstances," with the employee having the right to choose which such document to provide; and the employer cannot delay the employee's use of paid sick leave pending receipt of the document.

What needs to be paid?

  • The employee's regular pay for the time taken, including any benefits.
  • Tipped employees must be paid no less than the Chicago minimum wage for every hour of paid sick time. Effective July 1, 2016, that minimum wage will be $10.50 per hour.

What amount of accrued but unused paid sick time can employees carry over into the next 12-month period?

  • Employees may carry over half of any accrued but unused paid sick time into the following year, but no more than 20 hours.
  • If the employer is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), then employees may also carry over up to 40 hours of accrued but unused paid sick time to use for FMLA leaves.

Will an employer be required to pay an employee for earned but unused paid sick time when his or her employment ends?

  • No, unless doing so is required by a collective bargaining agreement.

May an employer consider paid sick time used by an employee in taking adverse action against the employee, such as for excessive absenteeism?

  • No.

Will employers and unions be required to change their collective bargaining agreements?

  • No. Such agreements will continue to apply as written, and employers and unions may choose not to follow the ordinance in their new agreements.

What else will covered employers need to do when the ordinance takes effect next year?

  • After the ordinance applies, give each employee a notice with his or her first paycheck that informs the employee of his or her right to paid sick leave under the ordinance.
  • Post a notice in the workplace informing employees of their right to paid sick leave under the ordinance.
  • The city will provide language for the notices and posters.

May employees sue for violations? What damages are available?

  • Employees may sue for violations.
  • If the court finds that the employer violated the ordinance, the court will award the employee three times the value of the amount of paid sick time that was denied, interest on that amount from the date that the paid sick time should have been provided, costs, and attorneys' fees.

What should employers do?

  • Begin planning how to implement the requirements of the ordinance, including creating or changing policies and practices on paid sick time, paid time off, and FMLA leave, and how to create and maintain records to track employees' accrual and use of paid sick time.

This article is presented for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.