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Northbrook to revisit Cook County paid sick leave policy after opting out last year

Friday, July 13, 2018
Chicago Tribune
by Alexandra Kukulka

Northbrook to revisit Cook County paid sick leave policy after opting out last year

The Northbrook Board of Trustees agreed July 10 to revisit a Cook County ordinance that would guarantee paid sick leave for most employees.

In May 2017, the board voted 5-2 to opt out of a Cook County ordinance that would require most employers to provide paid sick leave to employees working at least 80 hours in a 120-day period. The board also voted 6-1 to exclude Northbrook employers from the Cook County minimum wage ordinance, which would hike minimum wage in stages to $13 by 2020.

Trustee Muriel Collison requested at the July 10 meeting that the board discuss the Cook County paid sick leave ordinance again and consider opting into the law. Collison and Trustee Jason Han were the two trustees who voted against opting out of the paid sick leave ordinance last year, she said.

“It’s been a year, and its bothered me that we have employers in our community that don’t offer earned sick time for their employees,” Collison said. “I don’t like the thought that working parents have to choose between staying home with their sick child or not getting paid at work, or going to the doctor for themselves or not getting paid at work.”

Collison said her law firm is located in Cook County and it had to make adjustments to meet the requirements of the paid sick leave ordinance that were “not a big deal.”

“I am hoping that Northbrook can be a leader on this issue and that some of the other surrounding suburbs that opted out of it will consider reconsidering that,” Collison said. “It’s not too burdensome. It’s not too much to ask an employer to provide their employees with earned sick time.”

But Collison said she did not suggest discussing the Cook County minimum wage ordinance again because her “opinions on the minimum wage ordinance have not changed since the initial vote and discussion.”

Trustees Jason Han, Kathryn Ciesla and Robert Israel all voiced support for discussing the paid sick leave ordinance.

Employees, especially those working to care for elderly Northbrook residents or those who work with food, should be able to have paid sick leave as a way to avoid getting others sick as well, Han said.

“It’s the well-being of our residents,” Han said.

President Sandra Frum said it is too early to speculate how the discussion will evolve or if an ordinance will be drafted following the discussion. At the end of the discussion, the board may tell staff to draft an ordinance or to do nothing, Frum said.

But if an ordinance is written, it would need four votes to pass, she said.

“I personally have no problem with discussing it again,” Frum said. “I think it’s early to know where we’re going to go but I think it’s interesting to know that the board is willing to bring it back for discussion.”

Frum said she isn’t ready to share her opinion on the ordinance because she has to reeducate herself about it and who it applies to.

The board will discuss the ordinance at its Sept. 25 meeting, Frum said.

Last month, the Wilmette Village Board voted to opt into the Cook Countyminimum wage ordinance but to continue to opt out of the Cook County paid sick leave ordinance.

Twitter @AKukulka11

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