Effective July 1, 2017, Cook County Ordinance 16-4229
("Ordinance") will allow employees who work in Cook
County to accrue and use earned paid sick leave. The
Ordinance is nearly identical to Chicago's Paid Sick Leave
Ordinance that passed the city's council by a vote of 48-0
earlier this year. Under both the Chicago law and the
Ordinance, employees who work at least 80 hours during a 120-day
period are eligible to accrue and use earned sick leave.
Starting July 1, 2017, eligible employees will accrue one hour of
sick leave for every 40 hours worked. Employees hired after
July 1, 2017 will begin to accrue sick leave after their first day
on the job. Employees can begin to use earned sick leave
after 180 days on the job. Employees can use up to 40 hours
of earned sick leave in a 12-month period for their personal
illness or injury, a family member's illness, injury or other
medical needs, and to address matters of domestic violence
perpetrated on the employee or his or her family member.
The Ordinance defines "family member" as the
employee's child (either adopted, biological, step-child,
foster, or in a loco parentis relationship), 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 by a close association equivalent to
a family relationship. The 12-month period starts on the date
the employee begins to accrue earned sick leave. At the end
of the 12-month period, employees may carry over up to 20 hours of
accrued but unused earned sick leave to be used in the next
12-month period. If an employer qualifies as a "Covered
Employer" by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), that
business's employees may carry over an additional 40 hours to
be used for FMLA-approved leave. If an employee carries over
and uses 40 hours for FMLA leave in a 12-month period, the employee
may use up to 20 additional hours of earned paid sick leave during
the same 12-month period.
Employers may require employees to provide seven days'
notice before using paid sick leave, but must allow employees to
give same-day notice for leave that is not foreseeable. The
Ordinance defines foreseeable leave as including, but not limited
to, prescheduled medical appointments or courts dates in domestic
violence cases. Employers may require an employee who is
absent for more than three consecutive days to provide
certification that his or her leave was due to an employee or
family member's illness, injury or domestic violence-related
matter. A signed document by a licensed health care provider,
an attorney, a member of clergy or a victim services advocate is
acceptable under the Ordinance. However, employers may not
require the document to specify the nature of the employee or
family member's injury, illness or medical condition except as
required by law.
Companies must train front-line managers to be on the lookout for signs that an employee might need a job accommodation because workers who want help when a medical issue hinders their job performance don't always clearly ask for it.
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