Cook County Voters in “Opt Out” Municipalities Urge Paid Sick Leave Law

In the only PSL ballot initiative last week, nearly 90% of voters in Cook County municipalities that had opted out of the County’s Earned Sick Leave law voted in favor of their municipality enacting an ordinance matching the County’s PSL law.

The County Board of Supervisors had assigned the following advisory referendum question for the November 8 ballot:

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?”

With 95% of precincts reporting, 89.37% of voters favor a matching municipal PSL.ballot-1294935_640

Approximately 80% of the County’s municipalities had opted out of the County’s Earned Sick Leave Law, which went into effect in July 2017. My “nix list” is here.

The outcome of last week’s advisory vote comes as no surprise.  When asked whether they would like more paid time off, voters almost always say ‘yes’ by a wide margin.  The Board of Supervisors, I suspect, is counting on that voter sentiment to pressure the municipalities that had opted out to either opt back in to the County ordinance or enact a municipal ordinance matching the benefits of the County ordinance. Earlier this year, two villages–Northbrook and Western Springs– repealed their opt-out ordinance, effectively agreeing to be subject to the County PSL law.

Michigan and San Antonio were slated to have PSL ballot referenda but in both situations, the legislature took the issue from the voters and enacted the PSL law that would have been on the ballot.