United States: Chicago Adopts Final Rules Implementing Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

As most employers in the "Chicagoland" area are hopefully already aware, and as we reminded employers in our Alert on June 22, 2017, both Chicago and Cook County have enacted paid sick leave (PSL) ordinances that go into effect July 1, 2017. Although the two ordinances are remarkably similar as written, the two jurisdictions have interpreted some portions of the ordinances in a different manner. Cook County's Interpretative and Procedural Rules went into effect on May 25, 2017. Chicago's rules were finalized June 28, 2017. Fortunately, Chicago significantly changed some of its draft rules, and clarified others. Although there are still some differences in interpretation between Chicago and Cook County, those differences are much more manageable than under Chicago's draft rules. We also note that as of July 6, 2017, 101 municipalities in Cook County (out of 131 not including Chicago) have opted out of the earned sick leave ordinance since June 22, 2017. Importantly, employers located in opted-out municipalities will still be required to provide paid sick leave for their employees' work performed in a Cook County municipality that has not opted out.

Because of the delay in issuing final rules, employers may find themselves without written policies in place by July 1, 2017. In that case, it will be important for employers to at least provide the necessary notices to employees with their first paychecks after July 1, which can be found here for Chicago and here for Cook County, and post those notices in the same place they post all other employment law notices. Until employers can get written policies in place, they should also be carefully tracking all employees' hours (which is required under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act anyway), and tracking the accrual of PSL in at least the minimum required manner as stated in the two ordinances.

This Alert is intended to remind employers with employees performing work in Chicago and Cook County that they must immediately evaluate their current leave policies to determine whether they comply with the upcoming requirements for paid sick leave, or whether they will need to draft an entirely new policy. Because of the complexities of these new ordinances and the differences in interpretations, we have separately prepared a more detailed article that can be accessed here and directly from the In Depth Analysis page of our website. This article has now been updated with the final Chicago rules. Within the more detailed article, readers will find links to both ordinances, both sets of rules, and a handy chart that compares and contrasts the differences in the two sets of rules.

General Issues: At the outset, employers must know that in general, they will need to provide employees with one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked in either Chicago or Cook County (unless the work is performed in a Cook County jurisdiction that has opted out). Both ordinances restrict usage to 40 hours in a year (unless the employer chooses to allow more) for general sick leave purposes, and up to another 20 hours if the employee is taking time off for FMLA purposes. Again, these are generalities covered by the ordinances, and there are exceptions and variances, which are discussed in more detail in the linked Article.

Use of sick leave: Both ordinances allow for the use of paid sick leave for the same reasons: 1) for an employee's illness or injury (including medical care, treatment and diagnosis) and preventative medical care; 2) if an employee needs to care for an ill or injured family member or if a family member is receiving preventative care; 3) if an employee or family member is victim of domestic violence or a sex offense; 4) for an employee's need to care for a child whose school has been closed due to a public health emergency; or 5) if the employee's place of business has been closed for the same reason.

"Family members" under both ordinances are defined broadly, and include the employee's child (biological, adopted, step, and foster), spouse, domestic partner, parent (including biological, foster, stepparent, or adoptive parent), sibling, grandparent, grandchild or other blood relative, or any person whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.

Union Employees and Other Exclusions: Both ordinances allow unions to waive paid sick leave requirements in collective bargaining agreements, as long as the waiver is clear.

Carryover: Both ordinances allow for carrying over half, up to 20 hours of unused paid sick leave from one year to the next, and up to 40 hours if the leave is being used for an FMLA leave in the next year. Where the two sets of rules greatly diverge is how exactly the time is carried over. Very generally speaking, in Cook County, the unused leave is to be cut in half with one half being carried over to be used for any of the general types of sick leave stated in the ordinance, and the other half being available for use if the employee has an FMLA leave the next year. Chicago's rules, however, provide that up to 20 hours can be carried over for regular paid sick leave purposes, and another 40 can be carried over for FMLA purposes (for a total of 60).

Avoiding Tracking of Accrued Time or Carrying Over: Both sets of rules provide ways in which employers can avoid having to track time or carry it over from one year to the next. Unfortunately, both rules handle it differently. Generally speaking, in Cook County, an employer may avoid having to track the accrual of earned sick leave and avoid having to carry over any unused earned sick leave to the next year if it grants at the beginning of the first year of employment 40 hours of Ordinance-Restricted Earned Sick Leave (the type of leave allowed in the ordinance), and then in each subsequent year, 60 hours of Ordinance-Restricted Earned Sick Leave plus 40 hours of FMLA-Restricted Earned Sick Leave (for a total of 100 hours). If an employer wishes to only avoid having to carry over unused sick leave from one year to the next, but still have to track sick leave as it is being earned, then at the beginning of the second and all subsequent years of employment, it would need to provide an immediate grant of at least 20 hours of Ordinance-Restricted Sick Leave and 40 hours of FMLA-Restricted Earned Sick Leave.

Under Chicago's rules, however, an employer need only grant 40 hours of paid sick leave within the first 180 days after hire, and then 60 hours at the beginning of each subsequent year, and allow the employee to use the leave for any of the reasons listed in the ordinance, in order to avoid both having to track accrual of paid sick leave or carrying over unused sick leave into the next year. Chicago's rules allow an employer to use the 60 hours either 40 for FMLA and 20 for regular PSL, or 20 for FMLA and 40 for PSL.

Limits on Use: In Cook County, an employer can limit use of PSL to 40 hours in a year without regard to whether the sick leave was carried over from the prior year or whether it is earned in the current year. However, in one circumstance, an employee has the right to use up to 60 hours, which is when he carries over 40 hours from the prior period that is designated as FMLA-Restricted Earned Sick Leave, and then uses all 40 hours. At that point, he can use up to an additional 20 hours of Ordinance-Restricted Earned Sick Leave.

Under the Chicago rules, however, an employer can limit use of PSL to 40 hours per year of "regular use" paid sick leave, plus 20 hours of PSL for FMLA use (thus opposite of Cook County's allowance of use of 40 hours for FMLA and 20 for "regular" paid sick leave). If an employer frontloads 60 hours of PSL at the beginning of a benefit year, then it must allow employees to use either 40 regular PSL hours and 20 FMLA hours, or 20 regular PSL hours and 40 FMLA hours.

Procedures for Enforcement and Remedies: The remedies and procedures for enforcement are also different. Although both rules state that a private right of action is available, the methods of enforcement and potential damages are different. See the full article for the details on enforcement options and potential remedies and damages.

Conclusion: Now that Chicago has issued its final rules, and has changed and clarified many of the rules since its original draft, it will be much easier for employers in both jurisdictions to craft policies that comply with both ordinances. Although there are still differences in the two jurisdictions' interpretations of the very similar ordinances, those differences can be overcome with a careful review of current policies or drafting of new policies. All employers with any employees in these jurisdictions must immediately review their current policies and determine whether they comply with the ordinances and rules (which is unlikely given the litany of minimum requirements), whether exiting policies can simply be amended, or whether the employer needs entirely new policies. We are available to consult on all of these issues.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
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
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions