Chicago employees may get paid for sick days - FOX 10 News |

Leaders fight for Chicago employee sick day pay

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Many small business employees in Chicago do not get paid sick days. That could change if new legislation passes through City Council.

Carlos Romero used to work for a deli in the city. "I had a 102 fever," he recalled.

Romero said he had the flu. He tried to call in sick, but was told that because he was out the previous week, his boss told him no.

"I don't think that we should get paid sick days, but I do think that we should have the ability to earn them," Romero added.

Chicago Alderman and other community leaders introduced legislation today to allow employees to earn sick days.

"In Chicago over 40 percent of private sector workers, that's almost half a million people don't have a single paid sick day," said Ann Ladky, Executive Director of Women Employed.

Some small businesses have often been against this kind of law.

"On the one hand businesses are concerned that it might mean higher costs, they might have people who are just not at work and they will have to hire fill ins to take their place," said John Challenger, a business analyst.

Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique owner Theresa Ging said she supports the local legislation.

"Right now it's 5 to 10 days and then they get an additional one day every additional year. So, they can use it for sick time, they can use it for personal vacation," Ging said.

Employees can start to earn sick days after 120 days of employment and for every 30 hours worked, could earn one hour of sick time.

"More and more companies are realizing that having people coming to work sick is in fact a big productivity drain, because other people get sick, the people are not as productive and you get what is called the presentee-ism effect," Challenger added.

One concern small business owners have is whether this legislation would affect recent startups. They said it can take up to three years for a small business to become profitable and this kind of law could hurt them.

The legislation is now in the hands of a city workplace committee for further review.

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