Workers win with Chicago paid time off ordinance

Statement from Audra Wilson, President and CEO of the Shriver Center on Poverty Law

Chicago, IL—We applaud the Chicago City Council Workforce Development Committee for voting earlier today, 13-2, to expand our city’s current paid time off requirements. Currently, workers get five paid sick days. Through the Chicago Paid Leave Ordinance, workers now will have five paid time off days, for a total of 10 days off annually.

This is a racial and economic justice issue, affecting a workforce that is disproportionately women and people of color, who are more likely to work in low-paid and part-time jobs without benefits. That’s why the Shriver Center on Poverty Law has fought for a law that guarantees all workers can be with loved ones without risking their job or income.

Since March, we have worked in coalition with advocates to engage the business community around crafting an ordinance that works for both employers and workers. The new proposed law provides Chicago workers with reasonable paid time off while giving businesses flexibility to implement it.

The COVID-19 pandemic also exposed how important paid time off is not only for individual health, but public health. Paid leave keeps workers safe on the job, protects families caring for each other, strengthens our public health system and supports a stronger economy.

Doubling the minimum number of paid time off days makes the city a national leader in how to support women, people of color and working families. We look forward to the full City Council turning this standard — one of the most progressive in the country — into law next week. Call your alderperson NOW and tell them you support this ordinance.

The Shriver Center on Poverty Law fights for economic and racial justice. Over our nearly 60-year history, we have secured hundreds of victories with and for people living in poverty in Illinois and across the country. Today, we litigate, shape policy, and train and convene multi-state networks of lawyers, community leaders, and activists nationwide. Together, we are building a future where all people have equal dignity, respect, and power under the law. Join the fight at

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