In June, the Chicago City Council voted yes to a new ordinance that addresses sick leave and wage theft protections for people who work in the city. This new ordinance is in addition to another new ordinance our firm discussed in a prior post regarding the minimum wage change Chicago enacted and the potential penalties for violations.
The ordinance, SO2021-2182, applies to any business that employs four or more employees. If the employee is a domestic worker, then the law applies to businesses with one or more employees. The new ordinance is for any employee who works two or more hours within the city limits of Chicago during any two-week period.
Under the new ordinance, which went into effect July 1, employees can use their paid sick leave for the following reasons:
Absences that are a result of family-care facility closures
COVID-19-related quarantine, isolation absences, or other communicable disease-related absences
Mental health treatment
Stalking-related or sex-trafficking
Substance abuse treatment
The new law also allows employees to keep any unused sick leave if the employer sells the business as long as the employee continues to work in the city of Chicago after the sale of the company is complete.
The new ordinance also addresses wage theft claims. Employees can now file any claims at the City of Chicago Office of Labor Standards. There is also a new category of damages that an employee can pursue in addition to the amount of alleged underpayment. The new damage category is calculated by taking either two percent interest per month from the date the employer originally owed the worker the wages or the amount provided by state law, whichever is greater. As of July 9, a new state law went into effect that increases successful wage claims from two to five percent of the underpayment.
If an employer has two or more wage theft settlements in a calendar year, the company may be investigated for ineligibility by the city of Chicago’s Procurement Services Division and the Licensing Division.
Employers are also now required to maintain employee records for a minimum of five years and to provide copies to employees upon what the new ordinance refers to as “reasonable” requests.
As of August 1, every employer should have the updated poster the city has designed that explains changes posted where all employees have access to it. The ordinance also required that individual notices were to be included in all workers’ paychecks by August 1, as well as with the first paycheck of each new employee. Moving forward, all employees should receive an individual notice on an annual basis.
It is critical for Illinois employers to stay alert to any changes in federal, state, and municipal employment laws in order to protect against employee lawsuits or other legal issues. Call The Miller Law Firm, P.C at 847-995-1205 to schedule a free consultation with a skilled Schaumburg, IL labor law attorney and find out how our firm can help ensure your company is employment law compliant.