Although municipalities in suburban Cook County have — as we have previously reported — overwhelmingly opted out of the requirements of the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance, the County Board of Supervisors has decided, by majority vote, to let the voters weigh in on the issue. The Board cited the recent decisions of Wilmette and Western Springs to reconsider their initial decisions to opt-out of the Ordinance to justify its decision to take the issue directly to voters. In a controversial decision viewed by many as an effort to undermine the avalanche of municipal opt-outs, Cook County voters will see an advisory referendum question relating to the Sick Leave Ordinance on their ballots this fall. Specifically, voters will be asked to answer the following question:
Shall your municipality match the Cook County earned sick time law which allows for workers to earn up to 40 hours (5 days) of sick time a year to take care of their own health or a family member’s health?
[ ] Yes
[ ] No
Although the results of the referendum are not binding, if voters overwhelmingly answer the question in the affirmative – which they are widely expected to do — it will likely pressure local elected officials to revisit their earlier decisions to opt-out of the Ordinance.
If you thought you wouldn’t have to hear much more about the Cook County Sick Leave Ordinance in 2018 and beyond, hold on to your hat. The issue seems far from settled.