April 18, 2016
In This Issue:
CITY COUNCIL AND COOK COUNTY ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS
Almost a year after their first meeting, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Working Families Working Group (WFWG) issued a report that recommended the Chicago City Council pass an employer-funded paid sick leave ordinance. This proposal closely follows that recommendation. IRMA participated in the WFWG and, along with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, opposed the recommendation that forces yet another unfunded mandate in a long list of mandates that the City Council has passed in the last two years. There are many models available to address Paid Sick Leave. It can be employer funded in whole or in part, it can be paid for through a social insurance program set up by the jurisdiction, and it can be paid for by the employer at a rate of less than 100%. Without equal consideration of all options, the WFWG chose a wholly employer-funded mandate and the sponsors concurred.
Here are the main points of the proposal in Q & A form:
Who is covered?
Any employee that works at least 80 hours within a 120 day period and is at least 18 years of age. Current collective bargaining agreements are exempt. Future collective bargaining agreements must specifically exempt themselves from this law.
What type of leave must the employer provide?
The employer must provide either paid sick leave (PSL) or paid time off (PTO). If the employer chooses to provide PSL, then the employee will be allowed to take the time to care for a) her/his own illness or medical care related to an illness/injury or case of domestic violence,b) the illness of a family member or c) cases of business or school shut down due to a public health emergency. If the employer chooses to provide PTO, then the employee can take any eligible time earned for any reason.
How does PSL/PTO accrue?
The employer can give the employee 5 days upfront for the year (a year is calculated from the employee’s first day of work) or the effective date of the ordinance, whichever is later. Or, the employer can choose to use an accrual system instead. If so, then the employee will accrue PSL at the rate of 1 hour for every 40 hours worked. The maximum number of hours an Employee can take will not exceed 40 hours of PSL per 12-month period.
Will an employee be allowed to carry over PSL/PTO?
Yes. An employee can carry over a maximum of 20 hours to the following 12-month period. However, if an employee works for an employer that must comply with FMLA, then the employee will be allowed to carryover up to 40 hours of PSL to use concurrently with FMLA and up to 20 hours of PSL accrued if eligible.
Will employers be required to pay out any PSL/PTO upon employee separation? Will employers be required to pay out PSL/PTO at the end of an employee’s 12-month period?
No. Employers will not be required to pay out any unused PSL/PTO.
How will this ordinance apply to tipped employees?
An employer must pay the tipped employee at the full minimum wage in effect at the time the employee takes leave.
How many days in a row can an employee take of PSL?
The employee can take as many days as have accrued up to 40 hours, but the proposal does specifically allow an employer to require documentation when an employee takes more than three consecutive days of PSL.
What kind of notice must I provide to my employees?
You must amend or replace the minimum wage sign to include notice of rights to PSL/PTO.
What recourse does an employee have if I fail to provide PSL/PTO?
The employee has a private right of action in the appropriate court of jurisdiction. A fine can also be issued by the city for each violation at a rate of $500-$1000 for each violation.
If the proposal passes, when will it become effective?
July 1, 2017
Sponsor: Alderman Gilbert Villegas
Committee: Budget and Government Operations
Citing deteriorating roads in the city and the low price for gas, this proposal attempts to increase Chicago’s gas tax from the current $0.05/gallon to $0.12/gallon in order to pay for roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure. The additional $0.07/gallon would be sent to a special fund dedicated to pay for repairs and not to the Corporate Fund to be incorporated into general revenue. There are a number of attempts by various levels of government to increase the gas tax. Cook County’s $0.04/gallon increase is detailed below, and there is an effort at the state level to tax drivers at 1.5 cents for every mile driven. On the heels of the city’s latest tobacco tax that disproportionately affects gas stations, CRMA is opposed to an increase in the gas tax.
Sponsor: Commissioner Richard R. Boykin (1st District)
This week, Commissioner Richard R. Boykin introduced the Community Stabilization & Anti-Violence Act of Cook County. The proposal would add an additional $0.04/gallon to the county’s gas tax to be used specifically for the purpose of addressing anti-violence initiatives in the County. Gas is currently taxed in the County at $0.06/gallon. The funds from the tax, which the Commissioner estimates will bring in an additional $50 million in revenues, would be split between four different funds, three of which are new initiatives. If the price of gas were to reach $5.00/gallon for 30 days, the additional tax would expire.
(a) Cook County Jobs Council
This is a new council made up of 5 County Commissioners, the Board President, and three agency directors. The Council would be tasked with identifying where unemployment is greatest (at least 10% unemployment) amongst residents between the ages of 16-24 and partner with private sector employers to employ more unskilled labor in the designated areas. The pool of workers would also be pegged to work on highway and infrastructure projects. The Council would also provide job training and hire additional staff to manage the program from the fund.
(b) Cook County Parenting to Prevent Violence Initiative
This program would be administered by the Justice Advisory Council who would give grants to non-profit organizations that have parenting education programs. At least $2 million annually will be given out annually for these programs.
(c) Office for People with Disabilities
Creates a new office within the County to address the needs of people with disabilities in the County. The office will commence studies, conduct research, issue publications and recommendations to further its mission. The office would be appropriated a little over $1 million annually.
(d) Cook County Community Policing Initiative
This initiative would be overseen by the Cook County Sheriff’s office and would hire an additional 15 Sheriff’s officers to police areas of the county with high crime rates. At least $2 million annually would be expended on this effort.
Sponsor: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle
This ordinance is a clean-up ordinance initiated by the Department of Revenue to ensure the Cook County Code reflects current industry practices for certain taxes and revenue items and that compliance and payment efforts are uniform and standardized. All changes are revenue neutral.
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 18 2016.
The next County Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 11, 2016.
Vice President /General Counsel