Searching for Words to Describe the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Fiasco

What words aptly describe the fiasco wrought by Cook County’s enacting its Earned Sick Leave and minimum wage ordinances last fall?  Though the State’s Attorney concluded that the County Commissioners “lacked the home rule authority” to enact such ordinances, the Commissioners were undeterred.

Now, more than 75% of the County’s political subdivisions have exercised their home rule prerogative to not comply with, or “opt out” of, the County ordinances.

Those searching for words to describe the situation may get some ideas by reading the recent memorandum from the Skokie Corporation Counsel to the Skokie Mayor and Board of Trustees, available here. Today, Skokie will discuss whether to “opt out” of the County’s PSL and minimum wage ordinances.  Some of the Corporation Counsel’s descriptive observations are below. I have added the italics.

  • The opt-outs have caused “unpredictability from community to community….[which have] rendered the Cook County Ordinances untenable.”
  • “The goals and purpose of the ordinances have been gutted by the reality of the situation.”
  • The Ordinances “have created a hodge-podge of regulations which create unfair competition between businesses from town to town.”
  • “The issue before the [Skokie] Village Board is no longer discourse concerning the importance and timeliness of minimum wage and sick leave ordinances, but rather, the questionable endorsement of a disparate patchwork of minimum wage and sick leave standards and the impact it will have on local business should Skokie, as one of a few municipalities, abide by the Cook County Ordinances.”
  • The “Skokie elected officials are faced with considering not the very merits of the ordinances, but the unfair and chaotic predicament resulting from the pre-emptive actions by other municipalities.”

What will ultimately become of this untenable, disparate patchwork of leave standards and hodge-podge of regulation that has created this chaotic predicament is unclear. What is clear is that it is an overstatement to call the law the Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance chaos-485497_1920when it will apply in only 25% of Cook County political subdivisions. The better title for it is just that: The 25% of Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance.

Meanwhile, adding to the patchwork, the hodge-podge and the chaos relating to this untenable PSL ordinance, more nix. Here are my most recent additions to my list, which now has 98 entries: Blue Island, Broadview, Flossmoor; Franklin Park, Glenwood, Hometown, Matteson, Merrionette Park, Park Forest and Roselle.  I suspect we will surpass 100!