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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:35pm
Fri Jul 1, 2016

Gig Economy Workers Should Have Unemployment Protections, Experts Say

Workers in the gig economy and other independent contractors should be eligible for temporary unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs, according to a new report.

The Center for American Progress, Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality, and the National Employment Law Project have a package of proposals aimed at adapting the unemployment insurance (UI) system "for 21st century realities."

The proposed reforms include creating a "Jobseekers Allowance" for workers ineligible for traditional UI, including independent contractors and others in the "gig" or sharing economy, such as Uber and Lyft drivers. A Jobseekers Allowance would also cover individuals with limited work history, including young people transitioning from school to work and people re-entering the labor force after caring for a family member or recovering from an illness.

UI is a federal-state program that temporarily replaces wages for individuals who lost their job through no fault of their own and are actively looking for employment, among other eligibility requirements. Workers in most states can receive UI benefits, which are paid by businesses through payroll taxes, for a maximum of 26 weeks.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:31pm
Wed Jun 22, 2016

Chicago City Council Passes Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, Regulations On Sharing Services

From paid sick days to regulations on popular sharing services like Airbnb and Uber, Progress Illinois rounds up highlights from Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:12pm
Fri Jun 17, 2016

Former Old Country Buffet Workers Sue Over Sudden Layoffs At Chicago Restaurant

Former workers of a now-closed Old Country Buffet in Chicago are suing for back pay compensation after the restaurant abruptly shut down in early March.

Four former employees of the shuttered Old Country Buffet, located at 6125 N. Lincoln Ave., filed a federal lawsuit in April against the restaurant's operator, Texas-based Food Management Partners.

The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, alleges the company failed to notify employees about the layoffs 60 days before closing the restaurant on March 7. Under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, a 60-day layoff notice is required when a business closing will result in the loss of 50 or more job positions that required more than 20 hours a week. 

At the now-closed Old Country Buffet on Lincoln Avenue, there were 57 employees who worked more than 20 hours a week, according to the lawsuit.  

"A number of the people who worked there were employed for over ten years," said Carolyn Morales with Arise Chicago, a worker center assisting the laid off Old Country Buffet workers. "This is not high school students' part-time job. This is people's profession."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:47pm
Thu Jun 16, 2016

Chicago Workers Cheer Committee Passage Of Paid Sick Time Ordinance

Chicago workers burst into cheers Thursday after a city council committee advanced legislation to make earned paid sick leave a requirement in the Windy City.

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