There are several new state, municipal and county paid sick leave laws in Illinois that will affect employers’ Paid Time Off policies and benefits.  Some or all may apply to your business depending on where you do business or where you have employees working.  The following is a brief description of the main points of each new law.


Illinois HB 6162 Employee Sick Leave Act:

Took effect January 1, 2017.

  • The Act does not specifically define Employer, so it is assumed that this Act applies to all Illinois Employers.
  • Employees may use their personal sick leave time for absences related to the illness, injury or medical appointments for “immediate family” (child, stepchild, spouse, sibling, parent and spouse’s parents, grandchild, grandparent or stepparent).
  • The time to be used is the employee’s personal sick leave benefits, not plan benefits, such as short- or long-term disability benefits.
  • The amount of time to be allowed for immediate family versus personal sick time is not defined, but should be “for reasonable periods of time”.

Cook County Paid Sick Leave Ordinance:

  • Takes effect July 1, 2017.
  • Applies to all companies or individuals with a place of business within Cook County that employ at least one covered employee.
  • Covered employees have two criteria 1) perform at least 2 hours of work while working within Cook County in any two-week period, and 2) work at least 80 hours in any 120-day period.
  • Mandates that covered employers allow eligible employees to accrue up to 40 hours of PAID sick leave in each rolling 12-month period of their employment, beginning either the 1st calendar day of their employment or July 1, 2017, whichever is later.
  • Sick leave is accrued 1 hour for every 40 hours worked. New employees can begin using paid sick leave after 180 days of employment.
  • Unused Sick leave does NOT have to be paid out upon termination of employment and there is no roll-over requirement.

City of Chicago Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Ordinance:

  • Takes effect July 1, 2017.
  • Applies to employers within the City of Chicago.
  • Requires employers to offer at least 5 days of PAID sick leave to part-time and full-time employees.
  • Employees that work at least 80 hours in a 4-month period qualify for 5 days of paid sick leave.
  • The law mirrors the Cook County Ordinance in that covered employees have a 6-month waiting period before they can use their paid sick leave.
  • In addition, employees accrue the paid sick leave 1 hour for every 40 hours worked.
  • Main difference is that employees are allowed to carry over up to 20 hours of unused paid sick leave from year to year, or 40 hours if the employer falls under the FMLA requirements. The carried over hours for an FMLA covered employee are only available to use exclusively for FMLA purposes.

All Illinois employers, especially those who have facilities or employees working in Cook County and/or the City of Chicago should review the current PTO policies, practices, and Employee Handbooks, and revise them to ensure compliance.  For more information regarding posting/employee notification requirements, potential penalties, or compliance issues, please contact the Law Offices of McLaughlin & Associates at 630-230-8434.

Written by:  Kerry Rieder-McLaughlin, Human Resources Consultant

NOTE: This publication should not be regarded as legal advice or legal opinion. The content is intended for general informational purposes only. If you have any concerns regarding anything in this publication you may contact your own attorney, CPA, or our law office at 630-230-8434, website