The Ins and Outs of the Cook County Paid Sick Leave Policy

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Cook County Paid Sick Leave—Here’s What You Should Know

If you’ve ever gotten sick in the middle of a workday, you’ve probably had to ask for a day off. The real question is whether that time off was paid or unpaid. This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the Cook County paid sick leave laws.

You can also to apply for sick leaves and fight unjust denials!

What Is the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance?

The Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance states that all businesses in Cook County are required to provide paid time off for sick leave to their employees. This means your employer cannot legally force you to work if you are sick or avoid paying you in your absence.

The following rules apply:

  • To be eligible, an employee must have worked for their employer for at least 80 hours over a 120-day period
  • The sick leave hours are accrued on a pro-rata basis, starting from the first day of the year
  • Sick leave is counted on an hourly basis—if you take a day off, it counts as 24 hours
  • The total number of sick leave hours is capped at 40 hours a year

The exact rules of requesting sick leave may depend on your employer.

Cook County Ordinance for COVID-19

Cook County has passed laws to protect its residents from losing paid hours due to COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccinations. Apart from being able to take paid time off if you are affected by COVID, you are also entitled to paid time off if you need to get vaccinated.

The following table provides more details in case you need time off for vaccination:

Does Your Employer Require You To Get Vaccinated?What To Expect
YesYou can get up to four hours of pay per dose
NoYou can use your paid sick or vacation days

Paid Sick Leave in Chicago

The city of Chicago also requires employers to provide employees who have worked for at least 80 hours over a 120-day period with paid sick days. Employees who fall under these criteria accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours they work.

State-Wise Sick Leave Laws

Chicago’s paid sick leave laws are almost the same as those of the state of Illinois. In addition to the eligibility criteria, Illinois allows an employee to carry over 2.5 hours of yearly sick leave to the next year.

The laws are different in other U.S. states. Take a look at the table below for more information:

North CarolinaFloridaColorado
New York Massachusetts Virginia
New Jersey OregonWashington D.C.
Rhode Island Georgia

Why Do People Come to Work Sick?

Many people are reluctant to call in sick even if their employer provides paid leave days. This could be because an employee:

  • Has used up all their paid leave days
  • Wants to save paid days for future emergencies
  • Is afraid of upsetting their employer and getting fired

How To Request Sick Leave in Cook County

There are several ways to request sick leave in Cook County, and it depends entirely on the policies of your employer. You can apply for sick leave by:

  • Calling in
  • Sending an email
  • Filling out a form
  • Using DoNotPay

Applying for Sick Leave With DoNotPay

If you are having trouble requesting time off on your own, you can use the DoNotPay app to simplify and speed up the process. To do so:

  1. Locate the Request Sick Leave product and provide some details about yourself
  2. Enter the amount of time you would like to request off

We will generate a custom request letter on your behalf. You can also choose to email the letter directly to your employer from the app!

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