Press Statement
‘Midwest Momentum’ Continues as Illinois’ Cook County Approves Region’s Fourth Paid Sick Days Law This Year

“Less than one month after the St. Paul City Council approved Minnesota’s second paid sick days law, the Cook County Board of Commissioners in Illinois today approved a measure that will guarantee hundreds of thousands of additional workers the right to earn paid sick time. This victory signals tremendous Midwest momentum in response to growing nationwide demand for this common sense policy. The Midwest region will now have four jurisdictions with paid sick days laws – and all of these laws were enacted this year.*

When Cook County’s law takes effect on July 1, 2017, it will guarantee paid sick time for an estimated 440,000 workers who currently cannot earn it. That’s in addition to the more than 460,000 workers who are already set to gain protections under Chicago’s paid sick days law, which passed in June and will also take effect on July 1. Like the one in Chicago, Cook County’s ordinance will allow workers at businesses of all sizes to earn paid sick time they can use to address their own or a family member’s health and medical needs, and when they or a family member experiences domestic or sexual violence or stalking.

These laws are the latest steps forward at a time of remarkable progress for the national paid sick days movement. This year alone, 17 paid sick days laws have now either been enacted or taken effect across the country. With the addition of Cook County, there are now 37 jurisdictions that have, or will soon have, paid sick days laws in place. And just last week, the U.S. Department of Labor finalized a rule that will ensure 1.15 million people who work on federal contracts can earn paid sick time, including nearly 600,000 workers who currently cannot earn a single paid sick day.

The tide is certainly turning when it comes to paid sick days access in this country, thanks to the tireless efforts of groups like Women Employed, Arise Chicago and the many other faith, labor and advocacy organizations that made today’s victory in Cook County possible. Their determination, along with the leadership of lawmakers and business owners, is making a real difference. But, still, 36 percent of the private sector workforce struggles without paid sick days, and that must change. Congress must pass the Healthy Families Act and establish the national standard the country needs.”

* Voters in Milwaukee, Wis., approved a paid sick days ordinance in 2008. It would have been the nation’s third such law – but it was preempted by the state legislature in 2011 and, therefore, was never implemented.

The National Partnership convenes a broad and diverse coalition that supports the Healthy Families Act. More information can be found at

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The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family.

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