Measure cements Chicago’s status as a hostile place to do business
CHICAGO – Businesses understand that access to paid time off is crucial for workers and their families, which is why we reached an agreement earlier this year to provide 5 days of paid time off, for any reason, to every worker across the state beginning January 1 – an agreement that was praised by labor leaders. We made repeated efforts to negotiate in good faith to reach a paid leave policy at the City level that is fair and balanced for both workers and businesses, even offering double the State requirement, but labor groups refused to compromise meaningfully, with aldermen now set to vote on a policy that will devastate the very businesses they have been trying to attract to their communities.
The current proposal will force employers to pay three ways for every day of paid leave. As written, employers will need to provide five days of paid sick leave and five days of paid time off for every employee, pay employees for up to seven days of unused paid time off, and pay enhanced wages for anyone who covers the employee’s shift due to the City’s restrictive scheduling ordinance. On top of this, businesses, especially small businesses without robust human resources departments, will be exposed to the threat of private rights of action. The payout exemption for small businesses contained in the proposal does not extend to this dangerous private right of action language contained in the ordinance.
Once again, proponents failed to recognize the compounding effect these policies have on businesses that are already struggling to make ends meet due to an alarming number of anti-business proposals by the City, continued supply chain and labor challenges, persistent crime, and skyrocketing property taxes.
We regularly hear about the need to attract and retain businesses like restaurants, grocery stores, and pharmacies in under-served neighborhoods, and we’re already fighting an uphill battle to fill the exorbitantly high vacancies left by the COVID-19 pandemic in commercial corridors across the city. Businesses cannot withstand the ever-growing financial burden forced upon them with punitive policies including restrictive scheduling, the elimination of tip credits, and efforts to quadruple the real estate transfer tax. The addition of this paid leave policy all but guarantees we will lose that battle.
With Chicago on the verge of adopting the most complicated and expensive form of paid leave in the country, businesses of every size and sector will be left with no choice but to take their operations – and employees – elsewhere.
Additional Press Coverage:
- Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce
- Hospitality Business Association of Chicago
- Illinois Health and Hospitals Association
- Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association
- Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Illinois Manufacturers’ Association
- Illinois Restaurant Association
- Illinois Retail Merchants Association
- Little Village Chamber of Commerce
- Pilsen Chamber of Commerce
- Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago