Cook County vote for paid leave law brings total Illinois coverage to 900K+

CHICAGO—An overwhelming vote by the Cook County, Ill., Board brought paid family and medical leave to some 441,000 low-paid workers there, raising the total covered by such laws to more than 900,000 in northeastern Illinois alone.

That’s because the county ordinance takes effect July 1, the same day an identical statute, covering 460,000 workers, starts in the county seat, Chicago. The county board writes laws for the city’s inner suburbs, such as Evanston, Skokie, Chicago Heights and Park Forest.

“This victory signals tremendous Midwest momentum in response to growing nationwide demand for this common sense policy. The Midwest region will now have four jurisdictions with paid sick days laws – and all of these laws were enacted this year,” said Debra Ness, Executive Director of the National Partnership for Women and Families.

Some 37 states and cities nationwide now have paid family or medical leave, NPWF says, with almost half (17) of those ordinances having passed this year. It would have been 38, if the GOP-run Wisconsin legislature hadn’t pre-empted – and voided – Milwaukee’s ordinance. States and cities pass such legislation because GOP congressional leaders have bottled up federal paid-leave proposals for a decade.

Both Illinois ordinances let workers at businesses of all sizes earn paid sick time to care for themselves or family members’ health and medical needs, and also to aid family members who are victims of domestic or sexual violence or stalking, NPWF said.

Ness thanked “tireless efforts of groups like Women Employed, Arise Chicago and the many other faith, labor and advocacy organizations that made today’s victory in Cook County possible…But, still, 36 percent of the private sector workforce struggles without paid sick days, and that must change” through congressional action.

Source: PAI