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Chicago Delays Private Suits Under Fair Workweek Ordinance Until 2021, Law Still Effective July 1st

Labor & Employment Alert Brian A. Hartstein

Chicago Riverside

As a response to the COVID-19 crisis, Chicago has amended the Fair Workweek Ordinance (Ordinance) to provide additional running room for employers. While the Ordinance is still set to go into effect on July 1, 2020, private lawsuits under the Ordinance may not be initiated until January 1, 2021.

The Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance requires employers in any "Covered Industry," including building services, healthcare, hotels, manufacturing, retail, or warehouse services, with more than 100 employees globally (250 in the case of non-profits) with at least 50 covered employees to provide certain protections around the scheduling of an employee's shifts. For restaurants, the law is applicable for a business with 30 locations globally and at least 250 employees. For "safety net" hospitals, the Ordinance will still go into effect on January 1, 2021 as originally scheduled. The Ordinance applies to all covered employees in those industries who make less than $26 per hour or receive a salary of under $50,000 per year.

While employers are still expected to begin to comply with the laws' requirements on July 1st, the delay on private causes of action should provide employers some additional time to adjust to the new restrictions. This is especially important as many employers to whom it applies have been forced to close over the past several months in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Relatedly, the City also issued guidance that if COVID-19 "causes a material change to an Employer’s operations that creates the need for a schedule change," then the Ordinance's rules for scheduling requirements, such as predictability pay, right to decline, and 50% pay for cancelled hours, do not apply.

A more detailed description of the employer obligations under the Ordinance is provided here.

For more information on how Chicago's Fair Workweek Ordinance will impact your business, please contact your local Quarles & Brady attorney or:

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