Hailing the ordinance as a good first step and touting the mayor’s support, a group of aldermen, workers, business owners, and labor gathered in the City Hall 2nd floor hallway on the first day after inauguration in support of paid sick days for private employees.

The press conference included speeches from workers like Abraham Cabrera of ARISE, who said he’s been working in food delivery for 15 years and never had a paid sick day, putting his childrens’ well-being at risk. Christine Cikowski, the owner of Honey Butter Fried Chicken in Avondale, spoke, saying that while her business does offer paid sick leave, the fact that other private businesses do not hurts her bottom line. Photo here.

Melissa Joseph, director of equal opportunity policy at Women Employed, said, “82% of voters support earned sick time. How is anyone going to step away from that? This is law in 18 other cities, and three states. This is a public safety issue.”

Ald. Joe Moreno (1), who sponsored a similar ordinance last year, called the new ordinance made public Tuesday “a starting point,” but no one at the press conference specified a timeline for passing the ordinance, and referred questions to the mayor’s office. “If we don’t see progress we’ll have a different kind of press conference,” Moreno said.  Other aldermen attendees included Jason Ervin (28), Raymond Lopez (15), John Arena (45), Walter Burnett, Jr. (27), Carlos Rosa (35) and Toni Foulkes (16).

In a non-binding city-wide referendum in this year’s general election, 82 percent of voters answered “Yes” on whether private employers should offer paid sick leave. Many supporters at Tuesday’s press conference, including members of ARISE Chicago and Teamsters Local 742, and Women Employed, held up signs saying so.

The ordinance calls for earned sick time:

  • For a personal family illness or preventive care
  • Due to incident of domestic or sexual violence
  • Because of school or building closure due to a public health emergency
  • Full and part-time employees:could earn 40 hours of sick time per year if employer has fewer than 10 employees
  • Full and part-time employees:could earn 72 hours of sick time per year if employer has more than 10 employees, accrued hourly for every 30 hours worked.