Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance

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On July 24, 2019, the Chicago City Council adopted the Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance to take effect on July 1, 2020. Enforced by the Office of Labor Standards within the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, this comprehensive fair workweek ordinance requires covered employers to provide employees with advanced notice of work hours and shifts. The ordinance was adopted with the goal of providing hourly workers, who struggle to meet family and financial obligations, consistency in a predictable paycheck based on scheduled work hours.

Background

Chicago, Illinois, USA sightseeing cruise and skyline on the river.Covered employers are those that employ more than 100 employees globally (250 employees globally in the case of not-for-profit organizations), have at least 50 covered employees under the ordinance, and are primarily engaged in business in one or more of the covered industries. In addition, restaurants with a minimum of 30 locations and more than 250 total employees as well as franchise restaurants with at least four locations within the City of Chicago are covered under the ordinance.

Covered industries include building services (janitorial, building maintenance, and security staff), healthcare, hotels, manufacturing, restaurants, retail, and warehouse services.

Covered employees are those who have been on assignment for the employer for a minimum of 420 hours within an 18-month period, spend the majority of their work time physically working in the City of Chicago, perform most of their work in a covered industry, and earn less than or equal to $50,000 per year as a salaried employee or $26 per hour as an hourly employee. Temporary employees are included under this ordinance; however, it does not apply to contractors.

Organizations that have union workers covered under a collective bargaining agreement are not required to make any changes. Collective bargaining agreements put in place after July 1, 2020 may waive ordinance requirements if done so clearly in the agreement.

Ordinance Provisions

Posting & Notice Requirements

Employers are required to post notices in a conspicuous place at each Chicago facility where any covered employee works. Notices can be physically posted in common areas like a breakroom, on 11” by 17” paper, or they can be posted electronically on a digital bulletin board. Employers are also required to provide a notice to employees advising them of their rights under the ordinance. This can also be given physically to employees or be distributed electronically.

All notices can be found on the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (DBACP) website. Notices should be posted in English and any other language spoken by covered employees, who do not speak English, if the notice has been draft in that language by the DBACP.

Schedule Requirements

Employers must give advance notice of work schedules to include work shifts and on-call status for all current employers. Work schedules must be posted at least 10 days prior to the first day of the new scheduled work beginning on July 1, 2020. This 10-day posting requirement stays in effect until June 30, 2022. As of July 1, 2022, this posting mandate will increase, requiring employers to post schedules at least 14 days prior to the first date of the new work schedule. Additionally, the ordinance requires employers to provide any additional hours to existing qualified employees prior to hiring new staff or assigning work to temporary staff.

The ordinance also addressed new hires, in which employers must provide an estimate (in writing) of the projected hours and days of work for the first 90 days of employment prior to the start of employment. After receiving this predictive schedule, new employees may request the hours or work days to be modified. However, the employer doesn’t have to accommodate the request.

Covered employees, who are victims of domestic or sexual violence or who have a household member that is a victim, may request that their schedule not be posted or made available for other employees to see. This request should be made in writing to the employer to document why the employee’s schedule isn’t posted in compliance with ordinance guidelines.

Changes to Schedules

After a schedule is posted, an employer can make changes without penalty as long as the changes are made prior to the 10 or 14-day period. After changes are made, the new schedule must be posted within 24 hours of making the change. Expectations to this are outlined below:

  • If changes are made within the 10 or 14-day posting period, the employee has the right to decline the changes in work hours or shifts.
  • When changes are made within the 10 or 14-day period, the employer must pay the worker one hour of predictability pay for each hour added or shift that is changed.
  • If an employer cancels or subtracts hours from a regular or on-call scheduled shift with less than 24 hours of notice, the employee must be paid 50 percent of their regular rate of pay per hour for any hours not worked.

Employees have a right to request a flexible work arrangement; meaning they can request a modified work schedule, including changing days of work or shift start and end times, requesting additional shifts or hours,  or exchanging shift with other employees if approved. Requests for flexible work arrangements must be made in writing; however, employers are not obligated to grant the requested schedule modification.

Additionally, employees have a right to rest, which means they can decline scheduled work hours that start less than 10 hours after the end of a previously worked shift. If an employee agrees to work a shift that begins less than 10 hours after their previously worked shift, the employer must pay the employee 1.25 times the employee’s regular rate of pay for that shift due to inadequate rest time between shifts.

Lastly, employers will not be penalized for making schedule changes due to disciplinary action or events outside the employer’s control nor will they incur penalties if a change in schedule is mutually agreed upon in writing.

Compliance Requirements & Violations

Employers are required to keep records of employee names, hours worked, pay rate, and other records necessary to maintain compliance with the ordinance for three years. An employer that violates the requirements under the ordinance will be subject to fines ranging from $300 – $500 for each offense.

The Sikich Human Capital Management & Payroll Consulting team can assist employers through the changes Chicago organizations are now responsible for complying with. Please contact our team to discuss best practices and the most effective way to start implementing the ordinance requirements.

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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