The Chicago Employment Law Blog

Do Chicago Employers Have to Provide Sick Leave?

This year's flu season was particularly rough. Chicago's public health department reported 154 flu-related intensive care unit hospitalizations between the end of September 2013 and early February, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Though spring is fast approaching, people are still coming down with the flu, requiring them to take time off from work to recover.

But are employers legally required to provide paid sick leave?

Current Sick Leave Law

On the federal level, there are currently no requirements for paid sick leave. Companies subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act must provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid sick leave to FMLA-eligible employees for certain medical situations for either the employee or a member of the employee's immediate family. In many instances, paid leave may be substituted for unpaid FMLA leave.

On the state level, there is no Illinois statute mandating paid sick leave. Connecticut is currently the only state to pass a law requiring private sector employers to provide paid sick leave, the National Conference of State Legislatures reports.

Currently, there is no Chicago city ordinance mandating paid sick leave. But that could change with the passage of a newly proposed city ordinance.

Proposed Sick Leave Legislation

Chicago employers would be required to offer paid sick leave to all workers under a proposal introduced by City Councilmen Aldermen Proco "Joe" Moreno and Toni Foulkes, the Chicago Business Journal reports.

If approved, workers would earn an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work, up to a maximum total of either five days for employers with fewer than 10 workers or nine days for larger ones.

Many other cities have already passed paid sick leave legislation similar to the proposed Chicago ordinance. New York City approved a paid sick leave requirement last month, joining cities like Portland, Oregon, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., the Huffington Post reports.

The Chicago proposal also comes amid a new push for a statewide paid sick day requirement in Illinois, backed by Gov. Pat Quinn -- whose office is reportedly drafting a bill, according to ThinkProgress.

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