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Cook County Enacts New Paid Leave Law Effective Dec. 31, 2023

Thursday, January 4, 2024
Cook County Enacts New Paid Leave Law Effective Dec. 31, 2023

On December 14, 2023, Cook County, Illinois, introduced a fresh paid leave ordinance, slated to come into force on December 31, 2023, replacing its previous sick leave regulations. This updated ordinance mirrors the statewide Paid Leave for All Workers Act, effective January 1, 2024, yet notably excludes Cook County employers from its scope. The county anticipates releasing revised notices, FAQs, and complaint forms on its website by January 1.

Covered Employers and Workers

The ordinance covers most employers except the state government. All employees are eligible for leave except:

  • Temporary student workers employed by the college they attend;
  • Railroad workers;
  • Short-term adjunct professors; and
  • Collectively bargained employees, if certain conditions are met.

Accrual and Carryover of Leave

Under the ordinance, Cook County employees are entitled to earn and use up to a minimum of 40 hours of paid leave during a 12-month period for any purpose. Leave accrues at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked, beginning at the start of employment or December 31, 2023, whichever is later. Unused leave carries over into the next year; however, employers that frontload at least 40 hours of leave at the start of the year are exempt from carryover. A year is any 12-month period the employer designates in writing at the time of hire.

Use of Leave

Employees can begin using paid leave 90 days after they start employment or 90 days after the law takes effect on December 31, 2023, whichever is later. Employees may use other available leave before using the new paid leave. Tipped employees must be paid at least the minimum wage while on leave.

Notice Requirements

  • Employers must post a workplace notice about the ordinance and provide a written notice about the ordinance to employees when they start work. The county will prepare a model notice for employers to use.
  • Employers may require seven calendar days’ notice of foreseeable leave, if that requirement is in a written policy provided to employees, and notice as soon as practicable for unforeseeable leave.

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.