Nov 9, 2023 - Politics

Chicago passes PTO policy giving all employees 10 days off

mayor at podium

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson's city council passed the nation's most progressive paid leave law today. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

The city of Chicago passed one of the nation's most expansive workers time-off policies on Thursday, guaranteeing all workers at least 10 days off each year.

Why it matters: The law could attract workers to the city, but may also scare away businesses that are concerned about rising operating costs.

How it works: As of Dec. 31, all Chicago workers will be guaranteed at least five sick days and five days to use any way they wish annually.

  • Employers with more than 100 employees will have to pay exiting workers for unused leave while small businesses will have more limited pay out responsibilities.
  • Businesses that violate the law can be sued by employees one year after the law goes into effect.

Context: The ordinance comes on the heels of other labor-friendly legislation advanced by Mayor Brandon Johnson, particularly One Fair Wage, which over five years will eliminate the difference between the regular and the tipped minimum wage.

What they're saying: "In Chicago, we believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to take care of themselves, their loved ones, to do it without the burden of financial instability," Mayor Brandon Johnson said at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

  • The other side: A coalition of major Chicago business groups oppose the paid-leave policy, saying it "cements Chicago as a hostile place to do business" at a time when employers are still recovering from the pandemic and some are bracing for new costs driven by One Fair Wage.
  • The Chicago City Council voted 36 to 12 on the measure after weeks, with several alders warning that the new law will hurt businesses.
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