Chicago Sun-Times

What to know about Chicago’s new Fair Work­week Or­di­nance that goes into ef­fect to­day

- BY MANNY RAMOS, STAFF RE­PORTER mramos@sun­times.com | @_ManuelRamo­s_ Manny Ramos is a corps mem­ber in Re­port for Amer­ica, a not-for-profit jour­nal­ism pro­gram that aims to bol­ster Sun-Times coverage of Chicago’s South and West sides. Business · New York City · Seattle · Philadelphia · Illinois · American Federation of Labor

Work­ers in sev­eral in­dus­tries in Chicago will have new rights that pro­tect them from sud­den changes to their work sched­ule.

The Fair Work­week Or­di­nance was passed unan­i­mously by the City Coun­cil last sum­mer and takes ef­fect Wed­nes­day.

Other cities, in­clud­ing New York, Seat­tle and Philadel­phia, have adopted sim­i­lar plans.

Here is what you should know about Chicago’s new law:

What is the Fair Work­week Or­di­nance?

The or­di­nance re­quires em­ploy­ers to give ad­vanced no­tice of work sched­ules and to pay em­ploy­ees ad­di­tional wages for sud­den sched­ule changes.

Em­ploy­ees must be given at least a 10day no­tice of their new sched­ule. The time pe­riod for the no­tice will ex­tend to 14 days in two years.

Work­ers will re­ceive one hour of ad­di­tional pay for ev­ery change made with less than the 10-day no­tice, re­gard­less of how many hours they may or may not have lost.

Work­ers will re­ceive 50% of their base pay for ev­ery hour lost if changes are made less than 24 hours be­fore a shift starts.

Work­ers also will be given the “right to de­cline” any ad­di­tional hours added to their sched­ule with less than the 10-day no­tice.

The law also grants a “right to rest,” al­low­ing em­ploy­ees to de­cline work hours that are less than 10 hours af­ter the end of their pre­vi­ous shift. If an em­ployee chooses to work those hours, he or she will re­ceive time and a quar­ter for the shift.

Em­ploy­ers will have to give new em­ploy­ees a “good faith es­ti­mate in writing” on their pro­jected work­days and hours for the first 90 days of em­ploy­ment, in­clud­ing av­er­age weekly hours and whether they can ex­pect any on-call shifts.

Who is pro­tected?

The or­di­nance ap­plies to those who are mak­ing less than $26 an hour or $50,000 a year in the fol­low­ing in­dus­tries: build­ing ser­vices, health care, ho­tels, man­u­fac­tur­ing, restau­rants, re­tail and ware­house ser­vices.

The or­di­nance also will help work­ers in those busi­nesses that em­ploy 100 or more peo­ple, not-for-prof­its with at least 250 em­ploy­ees, restau­rants with at least 30 lo­ca­tions and 250 em­ploy­ees and fran­chises with more than three lo­ca­tions.

Penal­ties for busi­nesses not fol­low­ing the or­di­nance

Busi­nesses will be fined $300 to $500 for each of­fense.

The or­di­nance and fines might put many busi­ness own­ers in a pre­car­i­ous position, ad­vo­cates say, be­cause many still are reel­ing from the sev­eral-month clo­sures caused by the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

“The restau­rant in­dus­try has been dev­as­tated by COVID-19, and the un­prece­dented na­ture of the pan­demic poses greater un­pre­dictabil­ity when it comes to staffing,” said Sam Toia, pres­i­dent and CEO of Illi­nois Restau­rant As­so­ci­a­tion. “The IRA con­tin­ues to en­cour­age lo­cal of­fi­cials to con­sider all forms of reg­u­la­tory and fi­nan­cial re­lief to sup­port this crit­i­cal sec­tor of our econ­omy.”

Don Vil­lar, sec­re­tary-trea­surer at the

Chicago Fed­er­a­tion of La­bor, said the or­di­nance — along with in­creas­ing min­i­mum wage — will im­prove the lives of work­ers.

“Too many em­ploy­ees were be­ing abused in the work­place, like mak­ing peo­ple close for the night, go home to get a cou­ple of hours of sleep and then come back to open up shop,” Vil­lar said. “It’s about the qual­ity of life for work­ing fam­i­lies in our city.”

The ad­vance-no­tice sched­ules will al­low work­ers to plan around other jobs and school­ing and will give sin­gle par­ents an op­por­tu­nity to spend more time with their chil­dren, Vil­lar added.

“Peo­ple tend to live to work in­stead of work­ing to live, and this or­di­nance ad­dresses that,” Vil­lar said.

The Chicago Fed­er­a­tion of La­bor, an as­so­ci­a­tion of nearly 300 la­bor groups, has an own­er­ship stake in Sun-Times Me­dia.

 ?? FRAN SPIEL­MAN/SUN-TIMES ?? Hos­pi­tal work­ers at a City Hall news con­fer­ence on July 24, 2019, af­ter pas­sage of an or­di­nance re­quir­ing ad­vance no­tice of their sched­ules.
FRAN SPIEL­MAN/SUN-TIMES Hos­pi­tal work­ers at a City Hall news con­fer­ence on July 24, 2019, af­ter pas­sage of an or­di­nance re­quir­ing ad­vance no­tice of their sched­ules.

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