Paid sick time advocates are urging the new Chicago City Council to support a long-stalled measure that would make paid sick leave a reality for all workers in the city.
The Chicago Earned Sick Time Chicago Coalition, which plans to hold a Tuesday morning news conference at City Hall, wants city council action on a paid sick leave ordinance introduced in March 2014. The ordinance looks to ensure that all workers in the city currently without paid sick leave are able to take time off to care for their own illnesses, a sick family member or attend medical appointments.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office is establishing a "Working Families Working Group" that will examine several worker issues, including paid sick leave.
"The Chicago Earned Sick Time Coalition is urging this task force and the new City Council to roll up their sleeves and address the very real needs of working families by supporting paid sick days for all Chicago workers," the coalition said in a news release.
"A majority of Chicago's aldermen backed the ordinance when it was introduced, and we are calling for the newly elected aldermen to join them in championing working families," the coalition added. "Together, we can give workers the chance to care for themselves and their children while making our city a healthier, more productive place for both employees and employers. By passing this ordinance, Chicago would join the company of cities such as San Francisco, New York City, and Philadelphia; it would be the first city in the Midwest to provide this much-needed right for workers."
Forty-two percent of private sector workers in Chicago, or more than 460,000 individuals, have no access to paid sick leave, according to the Chicago Earned Sick Time Chicago Coalition.
In the February municipal election, Chicago voters overwhelmingly approved a non-binding ballot question asking whether private employers in Chicago should be required to offer paid sick leave to their employees "in the event of a personal or family illness, an incident of domestic or sexual violence, or a school or building closure due to a public health emergency."