Businesses in Chicago will be required to offer paid sick leave to their employees starting in 2017.

The City Council unanimously approved an ordinance June 22 that requires Chicago business owners to provide five days of paid sick leave for all employees. This added cost follows a property-tax hike and a $13 minimum wage. The new ordinance states employees who have been with a business for at least six months will have to earn at least one hour of paid sick leave per 40 hours worked. One alderman told the Chicago Tribune that the city expects the rule to raise the cost of doing business between 0.7 percent and 1.5 percent.

Ginger Peak owns Aloha Print Group in downtown Chicago. She said she offers her more than 30 employees some sort of paid sick leave, but worries about other businesses that can't afford to do that.
"We understand the importance of paid sick leave, but also understand that it isn't the right fit to legislate it for every industry," Peak said. "I believe each business and every industry should be able to do that on their own."

Kim Maisch, director of the Illinois Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, said broad rules like this can be disastrous for small businesses, which operate with very thin profit margins already.

"When government steps in and forces these types rules on to small business, often times the consequences are very dire," she said. "These one-size-fits-all types of mandates really hurt small business owners that need flexibility."

The new ordinance takes effect in July 2017.


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