Cook County, Illinois: Newly Mandated Countywide Paid Sick Leave


All Employers with Cook County, IL Employees


July 1, 2017


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(888) 378-2456

Following shortly after Chicago’s recent minimum wage and paid sick leave ordinance comes Cook County’s countywide Earned Sick Leave Ordinance (the “Ordinance”).  This encompasses the city of Chicago and is the first county in the Midwest to issue a far-reaching ordinance.  Note that this paid sick leave (“PSL”) mandate will also be affected by the state of Illinois’s recent Employee Sick Leave Act.

  1. Eligibility:
    • Covered Employee: anyone working part- or full-time (1) at least two hours for a covered employer within the geographic boundaries of Cook County in any particular two-week period, and (2) at least 80 hours for a covered employer in any 120-day period.
    • Employers: entities of any size that employ at least one covered employee within its principal place of business in Cook County.
    • Exemptions: workers covered by a bona fide collective bargaining agreement are not eligible for paid sick leave.
  2. Usage: Employees can begin using PSL after 180 days of employment.  PSL can be taken in minimum increments of four hours or less per day.  Employees cannot use more than 40 hours of PSL per 12-month period, unless allowed by the employer.
  3. Accrual:
    • Rate: One hour of PSL per 40 hours worked, beginning on the first calendar day after the date of hire, or July 1, 2017, whichever is later. PSL accrues in hourly increments only.
    • Cap: Employers can cap PSL accrual to 40 hours per 12-month period.  The 12-month period begins on the date PSL starts to accrue.
    • Carryover: Employees can carry over half of their accrued, unused PSL, up to a maximum of 20 hours, to the following 12-month period.  If the employer is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, covered employees can carryover up to 40 hours of accrued, unused PSL for the exclusive use of FMLA purposes, in addition to the standard 20 hour maximum carryover.
    • Frontload: Employers may choose to frontload PSL rather than track accrual.
  4. Workplace Notices: Covered employers must conspicuously display a poster at each of their Cook County facilities and provide employees a notice of their right to PSL with distribution of their first paycheck.  If they do not have a location in Cook County, posting is not required.
  5. Employee’s Notice: Employees can be required to provide up to seven days’ advance notice for reasonably foreseeable leave (example: prescheduled health care provider appointments).  Certification can be required after three consecutive days of absence.

Employers do not need to provide additional paid leave or revise existing paid leave policies if they already comply with the Ordinance’s requirements.

Action Items

  1. Contact ManagEase at (888) 230-3231 for assistance in reviewing paid sick leave policies and procedures for compliance, or drafting and implementation of new paid sick leave policies.
  2. Ensure timekeeping and payroll procedures are set up to appropriately track PSL usage, accrual, and carryover.
  3. Prepare a written notice of PSL rights to provide employees; look for more news from ManagEase for the as-of-yet unpublished workplace posting.
  4. Ensure managers are trained on handling PSL requests and recordkeeping.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2016 ManagEase, Incorporated.

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