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Chicago’s Paid Leave Ordinance on Hold

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The City of Chicago passed an ordinance in November 2023, requiring employers to provide some of the most generous paid leave entitlements in the country. Furthermore, it applied to a broad categorization of employees. Since the ordinance was anticipated to take effect January 1, 2024, and it provides no exceptions (e.g., nonprofits), it is causing no small degree of consternation for affected employers.

Important note: the Chicago Paid Leave and Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance (“the Ordinance”), applies to qualifying employees working in Chicago, regardless of where their employers may be located.

On December 13, 2023, Chicago City Council issued a reprieve, approving a number of substantive changes to the Ordinance. Significantly, the City has delayed the effective date of the Ordinance six months from January 1, 2024, to July 1, 2024. Additionally, the Ordinance’s applicability is now proposed for a much narrower class of employees: only those who have worked at least 80 hours in any 120-day period within the city’s geographic limits (rather than employees who have worked at least 2 hours in any 2-week period within the city’s geographic limits, per the prior version).

The amended Ordinance will be released just before Christmas, then followed by a public comment period. Given the substantive changes and invitation for further remarks, employers may wait to implement related policy changes until further notice from the City of Chicago.

For now, the Chicago’s existing paid sick leave ordinance remains in effect - but stay tuned for additional guidance. Note too that paid leave benefits are trending up, which means that employers may need to regularly reevaluate related employee benefits for up-to-date compliance.[1]

[1] Our law firm’s related blog articles address Illinois’ new paid leave law and trends particularly in Minnesota, a leading state in employment law developments.

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