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Statement from Business Groups on Amendments to Chicago Paid Leave Ordinance

Statement from Business Groups on Amendments to Chicago Paid Leave Ordinance

CHICAGO – While we appreciate Alderman Ervin’s efforts to correct many of the flaws of the Chicago Paid Leave Ordinance by delaying its effective date, modifying the definition of covered employee, and introducing a notice and cure process related to the private right of action provisions, the trailer ordinance introduced today once again fails to adequately protect employers from the compounding effect these policies have on businesses that are already struggling to make ends meet.

From the beginning of the negotiation process for the paid leave ordinance, the business community remained committed to reaching a compromise that was fair for both workers and employers, so we are disappointed that we have been left out of the process of drafting a trailer ordinance intended as a measure to address the continued concerns of the business community.

We are grateful that members of City Council recognized that forcing employers of every size and sector to comply with the most expensive and complicated form of paid leave in the country in only eight weeks was an impossible ask and appreciate that today’s ordinance provides for a six-month delay in implementation. We are also encouraged by efforts to amend the definition of covered employee to make it less ambiguous, but there remains room for improvement as the updated definition still has the potential to impact employers with employees that do not regularly work in Chicago.

The business community remains concerned about the lack of sufficient notice and cure process related to the private right of action provisions. As it currently stands in the trailer ordinance, the notice and cure period begins when an infraction occurs and lasts for a maximum of 16 days after the alleged violation. This does not provide an employer enough time to correct the infraction. In order to give employers a chance to correct mistakes made when implementing a never-before-seen paid leave policy, the notice and cure process should instead begin at the time an employee notifies the employer of an alleged violation in writing. Additionally, the proposed insufficient notice and cure period provisions will only be in place for a year, leaving businesses vulnerable to private right of action exposure once the provisions end. Without these protections, businesses of all sizes, especially small businesses without large human resources departments, will continue to be exposed to the threat of significant penalties and costly lawsuits for the most minor of infractions.

As City Council considers these amendments to the paid leave ordinance, we urge them to include the business community in discussions to ensure the concerns of businesses of all sizes, non-profits, faith-based organizations, safety net hospitals, and many other critical anchors of our communities are addressed and they are protected from the flawed ordinance’s potentially devastating impact.

  • Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce
  • Hospitality Business Association of Chicago
  • Illinois Health and Hospitals Association
  • Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association
  • Illinois Manufacturers’ Association
  • Illinois Restaurant Association
  • Illinois Retail Merchants Association
  • Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce
  • Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago