(Chicago) - Today, years of policy and advocacy work came to fruition as the City Council voted to pass an earned sick time ordinance that covers all Chicago workers. For the first time, all employees who work in the city have the right to earn paid sick time, regardless of the size of their employer, or whether they are full-time or part-time employees.
“Women Employed has been fighting for a policy for more than a decade to guarantee that workers have the right to earn sick time,” said Melissa Josephs, director of equal opportunity policy for Women Employed. “We led the first Illinois Paid Leave Coalition years ago, and it’s come full circle now with our current leadership in the Sick Time Chicago Coalition. It’s a victory for our organization, but more importantly, it’s a significant step toward economic stability for the city’s working families.”
Women Employed has been dedicated to passing earned sick time legislation because the ordinance strongly benefits working families and women. Occupations such as elder care, child care, food preparation and serving, and housekeeping—occupations where women hold a majority of the positions—historically have not provided earned sick time.
Chicago’s earned sick time ordinance is especially significant for women because they are both the main caregivers for family members and the primary wage earners in many households. According to a 2014 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, women are 10 times more likely than men to take off time to stay home with their sick children; of working moms, 39 percent report missing work to do so. Without access to sick time, working mothers in Chicago have had to decide between going to work or staying home to care for a sick child, even if it means missing out on a day’s pay or losing their job. In one survey, one in five low-wage working mothers reported losing a job due to her own illness or caring for a family member.
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Women Employed is a lead member of the Sick Time Chicago Coalition, a coalition leading the charge in support of a sick time policy for workers in the city of Chicago.
Women Employed mobilizes people and organizations to expand educational and employment opportunities for America’s working women. Founded in 1973, we have spent four decades opening doors, breaking barriers, and creating fairer workplaces for women. Visit us at our website or on social media at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.