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Paid Sick Leave in Illinois

The Illinois House has passed legislation (HB 2771) that would provide paid sick leave to Illinois workers who currently have no such right.

While Cook County and the City of Chicago have approved ordinances on paid sick leave that become effective July 1, 2017, there are still 1.5 million Illinois workers without the right to paid sick days.

The  Healthy Workplace Act would allow an employee to accrue and use up to five paid sick days per year.

Momentum to provide more workers paid sick leave has been building throughout Illinois and the nation. The City of Chicago and Cook County approved their measures in 2016. That same year, Arizona, Vermont and Washington-passed laws ensuring access to paid sick leave to all workers in their states.  Paid sick leave is also the law in four other states (Connecticut, California, Massachusetts and Oregon).

Jurisdictions with Paid Sick Days[1]
State and District Effective Date of Statutes
Connecticut 2012
Washington DC 2014
California 2015
Massachusetts 2015
Oregon 2016
Vermont 2017
Arizona 2017
Washington 2018
County Effective Date of Statutes
Montgomery County, MD 2016
Cook County, IL 2017
City Effective Date of Statutes
San Francisco, CA 2007
Seattle, WA 2012
New York, NY 2014
Jersey City, NJ 2014
Newark, NJ 2014
Irvington, NJ 2015
Passaic, NJ 2015
East Orange, NJ 2015
Paterson, NJ 2015
Trenton, NJ 2015
Montclair, NJ 2015
Bloomfield, NJ 2015
Oakland, CA 2015
Philadelphia, PA 2015
Emeryville, CA 2015
Pittsburgh, PA 2015
Elizabeth, NJ 2016
Plainfield, NJ 2016
San Diego, CA 2016
Tacoma, WA 2016
New Brunswick, N.J 2016
Los Angeles, CA 2016
Morristown, NJ 2017
Berkeley, CA 2017
Spokane, WA 2017
Santa Monica, CA 2017
Minneapolis, MN 2017
St. Paul, MN 2017
Chicago, IL 2017

What is paid sick leave?

Paid sick leave allows workers to take time off to recover from illness, attend a doctor’s appointment, take care of a sick loved one, or stay home to take care of children when school is canceled without a loss in pay. Workers accrue paid sick days based on the number of hours they work. The more hours an employee works, the more hours they accrue.

What are the benefits of paid sick leave?

Both employers and workers benefit from earned sick leave by reducing turnover, increasing productivity, saving on healthcare costs, reducing the spread of disease, and providing more economic security for workers.

Paid sick leave is good for children. Parents without paid sick days are more than twice as likely as parents with paid sick days to send a sick child to school or day care.

Paid sick leave provides job and financial security for minority and low-wage workers, whom are most often in jobs that lack sick leave benefits and can least afford to forego a paycheck if they become ill or must care for a family member. In Illinois, roughly 1.6 million workers are in low-wage jobs making $12 or less per hour. While only 14.7% of the Illinois population is African-American and 16.9% of the Illinois population is Latino, 33.6% of African Americans and 44.3% of Latinos in Illinois earn $12/hour or less. These lower income workers are less likely to have access to paid sick days. Nationwide, 80.6% of low-wage workers lack a single day of paid sick leave. And less than half of Latino workers in the US (46 percent) have access to paid sick time compared to 60 percent for all workers.

Working to ensure healthy and productive employees, paid sick leave helps provide a healthy Illinois economy and strengthens the economic security of the state’s citizens.

Written by Militza M. Pagán
Consultant to Voices for Illinois Children


[1] Laws differ on types of employees covered, the number of work hours required to earn paid sick leave, and the maximum number of sick leave hours employees can accrue; a detailed chart of paid sick leave statutes can be at found at http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/work-family/psd/paid-sick-days-statutes.pdf

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