Chicago Fair Workweek- Things to Watch

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Posted by Jennifer Long and Daniel Canales

Things to Watch

The City of Chicago City Council committee with responsibility for employer-related issues has advanced two separate ordinances intended to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The full City Council is expected to vote on both of these proposed ordinances on May 20, 2020. Watch for our follow up report after the City Council vote for further developments and additional compliance tips.

Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance Amendment

Originally signed into law by Mayor Lori Lightfoot in July 2019 with an effective date of July 1, 2020, the Chicago Fair Workweek (CFW) Ordinance requires certain private sector employers to provide eligible employees making less than $26/hour or $50,000/year with a number of predictive scheduling protections, which include:

• Pre-employment good faith written estimate of the employee’s projected days and hours of work
• Advance notice (beginning with 10 days, increasing to 14 days in 2022) of the employee’s work hours and schedule
• Right to request schedule modifications
• Right to decline certain previously unscheduled hours without adequate rest periods
• Right to “predictability pay” for any schedule changes made within the defined advance notice period

Additional compliance requirements are detailed in our prior summary of the CFW Ordinance included at Number 8 in our Ten New Employment Laws for Illinois Employers in 2020.

The CFW Ordinance was set for full implementation on July 1, 2020, but on May 11, 2020, the Chicago City Council’s Workforce Development Committee members approved an amendment which will defer one of the enforcement provisions until January 1, 2021. The deferred provision prevents employees from being able to file private lawsuits against employers for failing to adhere to the advance scheduling rules. City Council members indicated that postponing the private cause of action section of the ordinance is intended to provide struggling businesses with additional time to implement the CFW Ordinance requirements without fear of lawsuits within the first six months.

COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Ordinance

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chicago City Council Workforce Development Committee also has advanced an ordinance that protects employees from retaliation for the employee’s following any public health guidelines issued by the mayor, governor, or Chicago Department of Health, or a health care provider’s direction requiring an employee to stay home to minimize COVID-19 transmission.

Covered employees who feel like they have been fired or demoted in violation of this new COVID-19-related anti-retaliation requirement may submit a complaint to the Chicago Office of Labor Standards, who will investigate the claims. Employers found in violation of the ordinance could fined up to $1,000 per offense per day and also face private civil action by employees seeking reinstatement, damages and attorneys’ fees.

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