Paid sick time became law in Chicago and Cook County on July 1, 2017, giving over 450,000 workers the ability to earn paid sick time. Women Employed has since embarked on a public education campaign to advise workers across Chicagoland of their new rights.
In a survey conducted shortly before the law's implementation, 80 per cent of respondents said they were unaware of the new sick leave policies. Women Employed has rolled out a comprehensive website, sicktime.org, to serve as a resource for workers.
Under the paid sick time law, workers can now take time off to care for themselves or a seriously ill family member without fear of losing wages or being fired.
Women Employed has advocated for more than a decade to educate leaders and the public about the importance of paid sick time. In 2016, WE helped draft an earned sick time ordinance for Chicago based on recommendations from the Mayor’s Working Families Task Force (of which WE was a co-chair). The ordinance passed in June 2016 and another victory soon followed with the passage of a similar ordinance in Cook County. Chicago and Cook County are among 5 states and 29 other cities who have passed sick time protections.