HR Alert

Cook County (Illinois) Paid Sick Leave

This page contains the following information regarding paid sick leave in Cook County:

  • Overview
  • Accrual
  • Use
  • Employee Notice and Certification
  • Employer Posting and Notice
  • Additional Information

Overview

Under the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance, effective July 1, 2017, any covered employee (Sect. 42-2) who works at least 80 hours within any 120-day period for an employer with a place of business within Cook County is eligible for earned ("paid") sick leave. Such leave must be compensated at the same rate and with the same benefits-including health care benefits-that the covered employee regularly earns during hours worked.

Note: The ordinance provides minimum earned sick leave requirements; it may not be construed to affect the applicability of any other law, regulation, requirement, policy, or standard that provides for greater earned sick leave benefits.

Accrual

Paid sick leave begins to accrue either on the first calendar day after the commencement of a accrue (Sect. 42-2) employment or on July 1, 2017, whichever is later.

For every 40 hours worked after a covered employee's paid sick leave begins to accrue, he or she accrues one hour of paid sick leave. Paid sick leave accrues only in hourly increments-there are no fractional accruals.

A covered employee who is exempt from overtime requirements is assumed to work 40 hours in each workweek for purposes of paid sick leave accrual-unless his or her normal work week is less than 40 hours, in which case paid sick leave accrues based upon that normal work week.

Cap and Carryover

For each covered employee, there is a cap of 40 hours of paid sick leave accrued per 12-month period, unless his or her employer sets a higher limit. The 12-month period for a covered employee is calculated from the date he or she began to accrue paid sick leave.

At the end of a covered employee's 12-month accrual period, he or she is allowed to carry over to the following 12-month period half of his or her unused accrued paid sick leave, up to a maximum of 20 hours.

Note: If an employer is subject to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), each of the employer's covered employees is allowed, at the end of his or her 12-month paid sick leave accrual period, to carry over up to 40 hours of his or her unused accrued paid sick leave-in addition to the carryover allowed above-to use exclusively for FMLA-eligible purposes.

Employer PTO Policies

If an employer has a policy that grants covered employees paid time off in an amount and a manner that meets the requirements for paid sick leave under the ordinance, the employer is not required to provide additional paid leave.

If such employer's policy awards the full complement of paid time off immediately upon the date of eligibility (rather than using an accrual model), the employer must award each covered employee 40 hours of paid time off within one calendar year of his or her date of eligibility.

Payout of Unused Paid Sick Leave

Unless an applicable collective bargaining agreement provides otherwise, upon a covered employee's termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment, his or her employer is not required to provide financial or other reimbursement for unused paid sick leave.

Note: Under state law, an employee is not entitled to sick pay upon separation unless the employer has promised the pay in an employment contract or other agreement.

Use

An employer must allow a covered employee to begin using paid sick leave no later than the 180th calendar day following the commencement of his or her employment. A covered employee is entitled to use no more than 40 hours of earned sick leave per 12-month period, unless his or her employer sets a higher limit. The 12-month period for a covered employee is calculated from the date he or she began to accrue paid sick leave.

Note: If a covered employee carries over 40 hours of FMLA leave (under the provisions noted above) and uses that leave, he or she is entitled to use no more than an additional 20 hours of accrued paid sick leave in the same 12-month period, unless the employer sets a higher limit.

Within these limitations, a covered employee is allowed to determine how much accrued paid sick leave he or she needs to use, provided that his or her employer may set a reasonable minimum increment requirement not to exceed 4 hours per day.

An employer may not require, as a condition of a covered employee taking earned sick leave, that he or she search for or find a replacement worker to cover the hours during which he or she is on paid sick leave.

Purposes of Leave

A covered employee may use paid sick leave when:

  • He or she is ill or injured, or for the purpose of receiving medical care, treatment, diagnosis, or preventative medical care;
  • A member of his or her family is ill or injured, or to care for a family member receiving medical care, treatment, diagnosis, or preventative medical care;
  • He or she, or a member of his or her family, is the victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking (as those terms are defined by state law); or
  • His or her place of business is closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency, or he or she needs to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency.

Employee Notice and Certification

If a covered employee's need for paid sick leave is reasonably foreseeable (e.g., prescheduled appointments with health care providers, and court dates in domestic violence cases), an employer may require up to 7 days' notice before leave is taken. If the need for paid sick leave is not reasonably foreseeable, an employer may require a covered employee to give notice as soon as is practicable on the day the covered employee intends to take paid sick leave by notifying the employer via phone, e-mail, or text message.

Where a covered employee is absent for more than 3 consecutive work days, his or her employer may require certification (Sect. 42-3(c)(5)) that the use of earned sick leave was authorized under the provisions noted above. However, the employer may not delay the commencement of earned sick leave taken for one of the purposes noted above, nor delay payment of wages, on the basis that the employer has not yet received the required certification.

Note: Any notice requirement imposed by an employer under these provisions of the ordinance (Sect. 42-3(c)) must be waived in the event a covered employee is unable to give notice because he or she is unconscious, or otherwise medically incapacitated. If the leave is covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), notice must be in accordance with the FMLA.

Employer Posting and Notice

Employers generally must post in a conspicuous place at each facility where any covered employee works (that is located within the geographic boundaries of Cook County) a notice advising the covered employee of his or her rights to paid sick time under the ordinance.

Note: Employers that do not maintain a business facility within the geographic boundaries of the County are exempt from this requirement.

Employers also must provide to a covered employee at the commencement of employment written notice advising the covered employee of his or her rights to use earned sick time under the ordinance.

Additional Information

Please Note: The state laws summaries featured on this site are for general informational purposes only. In addition to state law, certain municipalities may enact legislation that imposes different requirements. State and local laws change frequently and, as such, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information featured in the State Laws section. For more detailed information regarding state or local laws, please contact your state labor department or the appropriate local government agency.


Close
Login to HRSPI Client Portal
Username:
Password:
Forgotten PasswordForgot Password
Executive Search Executive Search

Harrassment Prevention

HRSPI offers comprehensive, interactive, AB1825-Compliant training. Programs include introduction to recent anti-bullying legislation.

Latest News

  • California Bans the Box

    AB 1008 will prohibit most public and private employers from asking applicants about criminal conviction histories until after a conditional offer of employment has been made.

    <read more>

News Archives

Latest Blog

Blog Archives