Cook County, IL Paid Leave Amendments

December 18, 2023

On December 14, 2023, the Cook County Board of Commissioners passed the Cook County Paid Leave Ordinance that will amend the pre-existing Cook County Earned Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance into an ordinance requiring general paid leave.

At A Glance

On December 14, 2023, the Cook County Board of Commissioners passed the Cook County Paid Leave Ordinance that will amend the pre-existing Cook County Earned Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance into an ordinance requiring general paid leave.

Effective December 31, 2023, the new Paid Leave Ordinance will require employers to provide 40 hours of paid leave to be used for any reason. The amendments to the Ordinance were made to meet the standards of the State of Illinois Paid Leave for All Workers Act.


The Act applies to all employers in Cook County, IL with certain exceptions, such as the federal government, an Indian Tribe, or a corporation wholly owned by an Indian Tribe or the state government (or any agency or department thereof).

The Act covers all employees, except for:

  • Employees defined in the federal Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act or the Railway Labor Act
  • Temporary college or university student-employees
  • Certain short-term employees of an institution of higher learning
  • Employees working in the construction industry who are covered by a bona fide collective bargaining agreement (CBA)

Accrual Requirements

Upon the effective date of this Act, or when employment begins (whichever is later), eligible employees will accrue one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked.

  • Eligible employees can accrue up to 40 hours within a 12-month benefit period
  • Employers can choose to frontload 40 hours at the beginning of a 12-month benefit period
  • Carryover isn't required if hours are frontloaded
  • Employees may use up to 40 hours within a benefit period
  • Employees may carry over unused, accrued paid leave into a new benefit period
  • Paid leave isn't required to be paid out at termination.

For accrual purposes, exempt employees are presumed to work 40 hours per workweek unless their regular workweek is less than 40 hours, in which case paid leave accrues based on that regular workweek.

Rate of Pay

Employees must receive their hourly rate of pay when using paid leave, which doesn't include commissions or gratuities. However, an employee’s hourly rate of pay for leave under the Act can't drop below the applicable minimum wage.

Existing Leave Policies

Employers may use other types of paid leave policies to satisfy their obligation to provide paid leave under the Act.

The Act specifies an employer is “not required to modify their policy” if it satisfies the minimum amount of leave required under the Act and the employee is allowed to take paid leave for any reason.

If an employer does use another type of vacation bank to satisfy its obligations under the Act, any unused leave must be paid out upon separation from employment, which is required under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act.

Notice and Recordkeeping Requirements

Employers must post a notice, that will be provided by the agency, in a conspicuous place on the employer’s premises and include a copy of the notice in a written document, or written employee manual or policy. If the employer’s workforce includes a significant portion of non-English speakers, the agency will also provide a notice in that language.

Employers must maintain accurate records for each employee showing all of the following:

  • hours worked
  • paid leave accrued and used
  • remaining paid leave balance

Records must be retained for at least three years and made available for inspection by the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL). Employers must also provide paid leave available and used balances upon request.


For more information on Illinois wage and payroll tax laws, check out our Illinois Wage and Payroll Tax Facts page.


Next Steps

Employers should monitor the Commission’s Commission on Human Rights Paid Leave page for updated notice and informal guidance. Paylocity will have the accrual requirements set up with our system prior to December 31, 2023. Please work with your Account Manager if you have questions about how to add a time off type or approve time off.

Thank you for choosing Paylocity as your Payroll Tax and HCM partner.

This information is provided as a courtesy, may change and is not intended as legal or tax guidance. Employers with questions or concerns outside the scope of a Payroll Service Provider are encouraged to seek the advice of a qualified CPA, Tax Attorney or Advisor.



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