Cook County mandates employers to offer paid leave

Updated Dec. 14, 2023

The Cook County Board enacted a new paid leave mandate in mid-December that replicates a state law which calls for up to 40 hours of paid time off for any reason. The vote was unanimous.

The state law is effective Jan. 1, the county mandate, however, goes into effect Dec. 31, so for employers in Cook County it takes precedence over the state law. Enforcement of the county law will start on Feb. 1, according to reports.

Chicago enacted its own paid leave ordinance that calls for up to 40 hours of paid sick leave and 40 hours of paid personal time off. That measure was supposed to also start Dec. 31, but the City Council has pushed its start back to July 1, 2024.

The new county law mirrors the requirement that employers allow up to 40 hours of paid leave per year to be taken for any reason. The allotment can be frontloaded at the start of a 12-month period or accrued for one hour for every 40 hours worked, according to reports.

It also allows employees to take legal action against employers for violations of the mandate, which also was allowed under the county’s sick leave law. There is no “right to private action” allowing for lawsuits by employees under the state law.

Other counties in the Chicago Dental Society’s area, DuPage and Lake, are not home rule entities and thus are precluded from enacting such laws.