Victory: Chicago Becomes Next Major U.S. City to Guarantee Paid Sick Days

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“The Chicago City Council’s vote today to approve a paid sick days ordinance is a tremendous victory for the city, its workers, families, businesses and economy. Today’s vote means the nation’s three most populous cities will now guarantee working people the right to earn paid time off when they get sick or a family member needs care. It also means that more than 1.6 million people in the last month alone have gained new or expanded paid sick days protections through successful measures in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, San Diego and now Chicago. The number of places with paid sick days laws will now rise to 34, and the momentum around this common sense policy becomes even more undeniable.

This carefully crafted measure will greatly benefit Chicago communities and the city’s economy. When Mayor Rahm Emanuel signs the ordinance and it takes effect next year, more than 460,000 Chicagoans will newly have the right to earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year, which is equal to five full-time days. The measure was based on the recommendations of a task force of workers, employers and other city leaders that conducted six months of research, including listening sessions and focus groups. It drew on a growing body of evidence showing that paid sick days have widespread benefits.

The National Partnership commends the Earned Sick Time Chicago Coalition for bringing together a diverse group of workers, advocates, businesses and organizations to secure this victory. The advance is very welcome progress that is also a reminder of the urgent need for a national paid sick days standard. The patchwork of state and local paid sick days laws that our country is putting in place makes it easier for some people to care for their families while holding jobs, but it also puts us at risk of creating even larger inequalities in access to paid sick days and other family friendly policies. It is past time for Congress to take action so that no worker or family is left behind.”

The National Partnership convenes a broad and diverse coalition that supports the Healthy Families Act, which is now before Congress and would establish a national paid sick days standard. More information can be found at PaidSickDays.org.

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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