Paid sick leave laws are slowly becoming commonplace among states and local municipalities across the United States. Cook County and the City of Chicago implemented sick leave laws in 2017 requiring employers and nonprofits to provide employees with a minimum amount of paid time off either as sick leave or within a PTO policy. Even though these ordinances are currently both in effect, many organizations have failed to implement the policy or are non-compliant.

Do these ordinances apply to my nonprofit?

Cook County: This ordinance covers any employee who works for compensation for at least two hours in any two-week period and are physically present within Cook County. The ordinance does have some exceptions and many cities within Cook County have opted out of the requirement for paid sick leave.

City of Chicago: This ordinance applies to all nonprofits that maintain a business facility within the City of Chicago and any employee that works at least 80 hours within any 120-day period. No exceptions exist for nonprofits.

General provisions of the ordinances:

  • Employees may accrue their sick leave or be provided with the annual balance in full
  • Nonprofits must allow employees to carry over some of their sick leave
  • The ordinances apply to all classes of employees including part-time contingent workers but not contractors
  • The ordinances allow employees up to ten different reasons to use their sick leave
  • Nonprofits must allow an employee to use their paid sick leave by the 180th day of employment
  • Nonprofits are allowed to create notification policies for employees’ absences.
  • Nonprofits cannot require an employee to find their own work replacement during their absence

What’s not required?

Nonprofits are not required to pay out unused sick leave upon an employee’s termination, unless mandated by a collective bargaining agreement. If your nonprofit already offers an existing paid time off policy that fulfills the ordinances sick leave requirements, your agency will not need to provide a separate sick leave policy.

For more information on the ordinance, please visit the website Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance.

For more information, on the ordinance and find the rules and regulations, please visit the City of Chicago Business Affairs and Consumer Protection website regarding Paid Sick Leave.

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