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To Members of the Chicago City Council:

Chicago small businesses have faced many challenges over the past several years and encountered numerous obstacles while attempting to recover from the devastating pandemic. Disinvested communities continue struggling to fill vacant storefronts, attract businesses, and foster economic development. We ask that you refrain from passing the Chicago Paid Leave and Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance without the addition of appropriate safeguards given the immense challenges facing local businesses and communities. As it stands right now, the ordinance will hurt our small businesses and cause immense harm to the disinvested communities City Council should be supporting.

The ordinance which just passed the Committee on Workforce Development punishes small businesses that make mistakes by imposing crushing penalties that can force a business to close or greatly curtail operations. These penalties will have an even more profound impact on minority-owned businesses in disadvantaged communities without the financing to sustain these penalties. We are asking that a cure period be added to this ordinance so that businesses can correct mistakes before being destroyed by these penalties.

We are also asking that parts of the ordinance be deferred for a reasonable period so that businesses can comply. Small businesses should be afforded space to comply with record-keeping and notice requirements. There seems no way many small businesses and non-profits can navigate the requirements of this ordinance and be compliant by the end of the year. This will result in penalties which small businesses cannot afford.

We appreciate your efforts to protect Chicago workers. Please also protect the local businesses that play a crucial role in supporting our communities and the Chicago economy. Please do not vote to pass this ordinance until we have the opportunity to work together and make crucial changes to protect our businesses and communities.

Thank you for your consideration,

51st Street Business Association

Andersonville Chamber of Commerce

Austin African American Business Networking Association

Belmont-Central Chamber of Commerce

Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce

Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce

Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship

Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce

Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce

Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce

Lawndale Christian Development Corporation

Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce

Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce

Little Village Chamber of Commerce

Logan Square Chamber of Commerce

Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association

Mount Greenwood Community and Business Association

National Association of Woman Business Owners

North Lawndale Chamber of Commerce

Northwest Side CDC

Portage Park Chamber of Commerce

Quad Communities Development Corporation

Rogers Park Business Alliance

Roseland Chamber of Commerce

Six Corners Chamber of Commerce

Small Business Advocacy Council

Small Business Majority

South East Chicago Commission

South Shore Chamber of Commerce

Uptown Chamber of Commerce

Washington Park Chamber of Commerce

Woodlawn Chamber of Commerce

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