Beginning August 1, 2021, Chicago’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance will be renamed, “Paid Secure Leave.” The rebranding reflects an expansion of qualifying reasons an employee may take paid time off, including paid leave related to COVID-19, future health crises, or when schools and daycares are closed.
A. Covered Employees
Any employee who works at least 80 hours for an employer within any 120-day period is eligible for Paid Secure Leave.
A covered employee is any employee who performs at least 2 hours of work for an employer while physically present within the geographical boundaries of the City. Compensated time spent traveling within the City, including but not limited to, deliveries, sales calls, and travel related to business activity conducted within the City, constitutes work while physically present within the geographical boundaries of the City. However, uncompensated commuting time within the City is not included.
B. Changes to the Law
The Ordinance has always allowed employees to use sick leave for their own illness or a covered family member’s illness, including illness caused by COVID-19. The amendment, however, solidifies the right to use Paid Secure Leave to comply with a quarantine, isolation or stay-at-home order issued by a public official, the local health department or a personal healthcare provider. The amendment also adds new qualifying reasons for Paid Secure Leave unrelated to COVID-19 (the changes are indicated by emphasized text below). Thus, employees may now take Paid Secure Leave for any of the following reasons:
- The employee’s own illness or injury, or for the purpose of receiving professional care, including preventive care, diagnosis, or treatment, for medical, mental, or behavioral issues, including substance use disorders.
- The employee’s family member is ill, injured or ordered to quarantine, or the employee is caring for a family member receiving professional care, including preventive care, diagnosis, or treatment, for medical, mental, or behavioral issues, including substance abuse disorders.
- The employee or a member of the employee’s family is the victim of domestic violence, a sex offense or human trafficking.
- The employee’s workplace is closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency, or the employee is caring for a family member whose school, class, or place of care has been closed.
- The employee obeys an order issued by the Mayor, the Governor, the Chicago Department of Public Health, or a treating healthcare provider requiring the employee to: (i) stay at home to minimize the transmission of a communicable disease; (ii) remain at home while experiencing symptoms or sick with a communicable disease; (iii) obey a quarantine order issued to the employee; or (iv) obey an isolation order issued to the employee.
C. How to Prepare for the Upcoming Changes
Employers should review their time off policies to ensure they are in compliance by August 1, 2021. Employers also should be on the lookout for a new notice poster from the City’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Department that incorporates the changes in the law. Employers should ensure they have the current required notice in the meantime, which is available at the hyperlink below.
D. Ensure You Have Sent Your Paid Sick Leave Notice on or Before August 1, 2021
In September 2020, the City passed another amendment to the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance. This amendment requires, “With the first paycheck issued to a Covered Employee, and annually with a paycheck issued within 30 days of July 1, every Employer shall provide with the first paycheck a notice advising the Covered Employee of the current minimum Wages under this chapter, the Covered Employee’s right to Paid Sick Leave, and information about human trafficking and resources to help combat it.” A sample notice to comply with this requirement may be found here. For the first time since this amendment was passed, employers will be required to send all covered employees the required notice on or before August 1, 2021.