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Chicago’s New Paid Leave and Sick Leave Ordinance

June 17, 2024

On April 30, 2024, the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) published the final rule implementing the Chicago Paid Leave and Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance. This ordinance, passed by the Chicago City Council on November 9, 2023, with amendments on December 13, 2023, is set to take effect on July 1, 2024.

The new ordinance says that employees are entitled to up to 40 hours of paid leave and 40 hours of paid sick leave annually, accruing at a rate of one hour for every 35 hours worked. Employers can define the benefit year based on an employee’s anniversary date, or synchronize it for all employees based on a calendar or fiscal year. Paid unused sick leave can be carried over into the following year, up to 80 hours, while up to 16 hours of paid leave can be carried over unless it is front-loaded.

Employees can use paid sick leave for illness, medical appointments, or caring for a family member. Employers must notify employees of their leave balances each pay period and maintain records for at least five years. Notices must be posted in workplaces, and policies must be communicated annually upon hiring.

In addition, employers can deny leave based on a pre-established policy rationale, but must do so in writing. They can also require reasonable pre-approval for leave to ensure business continuity. These measures are part of a broader effort by the City of Chicago to enhance worker protections and ensure fair labor practices. The BACP, through its Office of Labor Standards, will oversee the ordinance’s implementation.