Naperville Business Lawyer Discusses New Chicago Sick Day Mandate

sick days, Naperville business law attorneyNo matter where you choose to start your company or run a business, you will be forced to put up with a certain level of government oversight. The number of regulations and amount of bureaucracy certainly depends on the specific jurisdiction, but may include considerations for licensing, inspections, taxes, fees, and much more.

As a business law attorney who has been serving the region for more than 30 years, I understand that—accurately or not—Illinois has come to be known as a state in which it can be difficult to own a small or medium-size company. The city of Chicago, in particular, shares a similar reputation. Most governmental efforts are usually the result of good intentions, but often create unforeseen difficulties for those to whom they apply. Such might be the case for a recent Chicago city council decision regarding paid sick days.

Paid Sick Days for Most Workers

This week, Chicago City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that will require nearly all of the city’s employers to provide paid sick leave to all of their employees, regardless of the size of the company. The only exception being made is for construction workers, whose seasonal work and contractual structures suggest less of a need for mandated sick days. According to the ordinance, which is set to take effect in July of 2017, employers will be required to offer at least five paid sick days per year. The law would allow workers to take the sick time after six months of employment, and provides that the requirement does not apply for short-term workers like students on summer break.

Reaction From Business Leaders

While workers celebrated the news of the ordinance, local business leaders expressed concerns. Some speculated about the costs of paying workers for sick days, but the bigger issue to many is the number of regulations being imposed on Chicago businesses in recent months. “They’ve passed a higher minimum wage, the largest property tax increase in Chicago history—paid disproportionately by the community—and a plastic bag ban,” observed Mike Reever of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. Reever also mentioned increases to the sales tax and hotel tax in Cook County, and the year-long budget impasse still ongoing in the state capital. “These policies do have a cumulative impact,” he said. “That’s a competitive disadvantage for employers.”

Going Forward

The new ordinance is expected to guarantee paid sick days to about 460,000 private sector employees for the first time. With the move, Chicago joins two dozen other American cities that have enacted similar laws, including Seattle, Minneapolis, and New York City.

If your business currently has a location in the city of Chicago or you are working on plans to open one, contact an experienced Naperville business lawyer. Our knowledgeable team can help you develop a vacation and sick day policy in compliance with all federal, state, and local regulations. Call The Gierach Law Firm today at 630-756-1160.



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