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Paid Sick Days Victory in the Third Largest City in the Nation

June 22, 2016

Today, Chicago took a major step toward becoming the 34th jurisdiction in the United States with a paid sick days law when the city council unanimously approved an ordinance that will establish a standard for the city. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has expressed strong support for the measure and is expected to sign it, which means the nation’s three most populous cities will soon guarantee common sense paid sick days protections.

When the ordinance takes effect on July 1, 2017, more than 460,000 workers in the city – including the 78 percent of food service workers who currently do not have a single paid sick day – will newly gain the right to earn paid sick time. The ordinance will apply to all businesses and allow workers to earn one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year (the equivalent of five full-time days). Workers will be able to take the time they have accrued after being employed for six months.

This tremendous victory was made possible by years of hard work by the Earned Sick Time Chicago Coalition – a dedicated group of at least 46 advocacy organizations and unions anchored by Women Employed. Thanks to their tireless efforts, having to make the choice between caring for a sick child, recovering from the flu, or seeking domestic violence services and a job or paycheck will be a distant memory for Chicagoans.

In a coalition statement Ald. Ameya Pawar said, “I’m pleased that Chicago’s leaders came together to pass this ordinance. It’s a major victory for Chicago’s families, our communities, and our economy. Our city can be proud of this, and I hope other cities take note and follow suit.” Ald. Pawar served as co-chair of the group – known as the Working Families Task Force – charged with making the recommendations that informed the policy’s development.

National Partnership President Debra L. Ness noted that this victory means “more than 1.6 million people in the last month alone have gained new or expanded paid sick days protections through successful measures in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, San Diego and now Chicago…” She added that the momentum around the policy has become “even more undeniable” and called on Congress to prioritize a federal standard.

Be sure to congratulate the coalition and share this exciting news on social media!

  • Thank you, @ChiCouncil, for passing #paidsickdays and helping more than 460,000 Chicagoans and their families! @sicktimechicago
  • Congratulations on your hard-fought victory, @sicktimechicago! #Paidsickdays help workers, families and communities thrive.

Those who live in Chicago can click here to thank their city council members.

If you’d like to reach out to the campaign directly, contact Melissa Josephs. To learn more about other paid sick days campaigns, including the national campaign to pass the Healthy Families Act, which would establish a federal paid sick days standard, contact me.

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