Women Employed Applauds New Chicago Law Giving Workers Five Days of Paid Time Off For Any Reason

July 1st, 2024

CHICAGO – Women Employed, which has been creating fundamental, systemic change for working women for over 50 years, today applauded the Chicago law that gives workers in the city access to paid leave for any reason. Women Employed, who led the coalition to secure paid sick leave in Chicago in 2017, once again joined advocates that championed the expansion of the citywide law.

Effective today, most people who work in Chicago will have the ability to earn up to five days or 40 hours of paid leave for any reason, including chaperoning a school trip, addressing emergencies, caring for themselves or a loved one, court appearances, or any other reason that workers need to take time off from their jobs without lost wages or fear of losing their jobs. Employers cannot retaliate against employees for taking their paid leave, and cannot make them find replacement workers to use their paid leave.

“No one should make the impossible choice between a paycheck and caring for themselves or their families,” Cherita Ellens, President and CEO of Women Employed, said. “Thanks to Mayor Johnson, Alderman Mike Rodriguez, and countless advocates, workers in Chicago will be afforded a basic workplace right that is long overdue.”

The City Council passed the ordinance by an overwhelming vote of 36-12 in November 2023 giving most workers in Chicago one hour of paid leave for any reason plus one hour of paid sick leave for every 35 hours worked. For a full-time job, that equals 10 days of paid time off total—five days to be used for any reason, in addition to the five days of paid sick leave that has been in place since 2017.

“With the Paid Time Off ordinance, we are making Chicago the most pro-worker city in the United States,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “Working people deserve to take time off work to spend time with their families or to recover from illness. By doubling the number of guaranteed days off, we are making it clear to the working people of Chicago that this administration will fight for their interests. I am grateful to Women Employed and the coalition of labor unions, worker centers, and working-class Chicagoans who helped us get this done.”

“The new Chicago paid leave law offers more benefits for workers than any other in the country,” said Andrea Kluger, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Chicago Federation of Labor. “By providing both sick leave and PTO we recognize that workers deserve time off for reasons beyond illness. Additionally, this law makes Chicago the first to guarantee PTO as a benefit, requiring compensation for unused time.”

In January 2024, Women Employed also celebrated the effective date of the Paid Leave for All Workers Act, a new state law that provides up to 40 hours, or five days, of paid time off for any reason. Women Employed led a broad-based coalition of advocates fighting for a statewide law providing paid time off for all workers. Until the state law was passed, about 1.5 million workers in Illinois did not have access to a single paid sick day.

Along with their statewide partners, Women Employed has been educating workers on the new laws and their expanded workplace rights, and will continue to educate Chicago workers on their expanded rights. More information on Chicago’s paid leave law can be found here, and more information on the state law is here.


Women Employed (WE) is a 50-year-old advocacy organization that pursues equity for women in the workforce by effecting policy change, expanding access to educational opportunities, and advocating for fair and inclusive workplaces so that all women, families, and communities can thrive. Our mission is to improve the economic status of women and remove barriers to economic equity, and we are working towards closing the wealth gap at the intersection of gender and race. For more information, visit womenemployed.org, or follow @WomenEmployed on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Together, we will ensure more women, families, and communities can build their economic power and thrive.

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