Chicagoans in favor of making earned paid sick days a requirement for private employers in the Windy City are stressing the importance of a non-binding ballot referendum on the topic.
When Chicago voters hit the polls Tuesday, they will be presented with this advisory question: "Should employers in the City of Chicago be required to provide their employees with paid leave in the event of a personal or family illness, an incident of domestic or sexual violence, or a school or building closure due to a public health emergency?"
Members of the Earned Sick Time Chicago Coalition hope the referendum results will spur aldermen to taken action on an ordinance introduced last March that would guarantee all workers in the city currently without paid sick leave are able to take time off to care for their own illnesses, a sick family member or attend medical appointments.
"Chicago families can't afford to wait any longer for paid sick days," said Melissa Josephs, leader of the Earned Sick Time Coalition and Women Employed's director of equal opportunity policy. "Voters should send a resounding stamp of approval on Tuesday and lawmakers should swiftly heed their call--giving workers much needed relief and making our city a healthier, more business-friendly place for it."
Also voicing support for paid sick day legislation is former Whole Foods employee Rhiannon Broschat, who worked at a store in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood and was fired last year after missing work to care for her special needs child. The city's public schools were closed that day due to extreme weather.
"For us, paid sick days is about keeping our income and also keeping our job," Broschat said. "There are companies that provide sick days because they value employees, making the workplace happier and customers, too. Guaranteeing paid sick days for all of us would be a win for business, the economy and all of us."
Click through for Progress Illinois' coverage on the fight for paid sick leave in Chicago.