This afternoon, the City Council passed the “Fair Workweek” Ordinance. This ordinance will put new mandates on how employers schedule their employees, including 14 days notice of scheduling, predictability pay for changes in scheduled shifts, and extra pay for workers who work two shifts within 10 hours. It also is the most expansive workweek legislation in the country, including industries like manufacturing, hospitals, and non-profits.

The Chicagoland Chamber has co-led the Work Your Way Coalition to advocate for our members and the business community to find compromise and make the ordinance more balanced for employers and employees alike. Due to numerous negotiations and discussions with our members, the Mayor and her team, aldermen, and proponents, the Chamber removed its opposition yesterday afternoon at the Workforce Development Committee.

Because of our advocacy and the work of the coalition, the ordinance approved today is significantly more balanced for employers and employees than it was even just a few weeks ago.

The Chamber would like to thank the Mayor and her dedicated team for providing a constructive, transparent, and fair negotiation process. Without her leadership the business community would not have gotten a more reasonable and more balanced ordinance.

The below is meant as an overview of important parts of the new ordinance for both employees and employers, and does not constitute legal advice on how to comply with this new ordinance.

What you need to know about the “Fair Workweek” ordinance:

  • Covered Employers/Industries: building services, healthcare, hotels, manufacturing, retail, warehouse services with more than 100 employees globally or 250 employees for nonprofits, 50 of whom are covered employees (see definition above). Restaurants with 250 employees and 30 locations globally, AND franchises with 4 or more locations in the City by one employer and operating under a sole franchise.
  • Covered Employees: salaried employees making $50,000 or less; and, hourly employees who make up to $26/hr.
  • Advance notice of schedule: requires employers to provide at least 10 days advance notice of schedule beginning July 1, 2020 and 14 days advance notice beginning July 1, 2022
  • Right to decline: covered employee has the right to decline hours not previously scheduled.
  • Alterations to schedules includes “premium pay”:
    • one total hour of extra pay to the employee for each shift that the employer adds hours of work, changes the date/time of a shift with no loss in hours, or cancels/subtracts hours with more than 24 hours notice.
    • no less than 50% of employee's regular rate of pay for any hours not worked because employer changes, cancels, subtracts hours from a regularly scheduled shift with less than 24 hours notice.
  • Exceptions to the alterations of schedules “premium pay” (non-comprehensive):
    • a work schedule change that is mutually agreed to by the employee and employer does not require premium/additional pay.
    • a work schedule change that is the result of a mutually agreed upon shift trade between covered employees, subject to any existing employer policy regarding employees trading shifts.
  • Offer of additional hours to existing employees: employer must offer additional shifts to existing covered employees qualified to do the additional work, as determined by the employer. Then, they must offer to temporary and seasonal workers who have worked on behalf of the employer for two or more weeks
  • “Right to Rest”: employee has the right to decline hours that are less than 10 hours after the end of the previous day's shift. If the employee agrees to work a shift beginning less than 10 hours after the end of the last shift, the rate of pay for that shift is 1.25 times the normal rate of that employee.
  • Penalties for violations: Not less than $300 or more than $500 for violations of this ordinance. 
  • Private Right of Action: in brief, there exists a private right of action, but it may not be initiated before a variety of steps are met, including notice to the City of Chicago's Department of Consumer Protection and Business Affairs and the employer has an opportunity to correct the issue.

Highlights of what we are able to change:

  • Limited scope of ordinance: originally would have covered all industries and businesses
  • Imposed hourly salary cap from all hourly workers to now only those making up to $26/hour
  • Ensured there was flexibility and ability to make last-minute, agreed upon schedule changes
  • Ensured protection from mitigation in private right of action

We will continue to be at the table and advocating for our members during the discussions on how this ordinance will be implemented.

In the coming months, we will host programming and informational sessions to help you navigate and better understand how this legislation impacts your business. If you have questions, please contact our SVP of Government Relations, Michael Reever

Media coverage of ordinance: