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Dear Commissioner Meyer:

Thank you for the opportunity to offer comments and present questions regarding the proposed Chicago Paid Leave and Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance (PTO Ordinance) rules published by the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs. The small business community reiterates its concern about the penalties set forth in the PTO Ordinance and an insufficient cure period, which, among other things, does not include notice or cover penalties for technical violations. Small business owners and advocates remain concerned that the unintended consequences of certain parts of the PTO Ordinance will devastate local businesses and drive businesses out of Chicago.

The SBAC has collected and synthesized comments and questions regarding the proposed PTO rules. Please note this is not an exhaustive list but rather the most pressing issues at this time.

  • There is concern over the term “Day Laborers” and what that means.  Rule 1.02 seems to contradict other provisions of the PTO Ordinance and rules. Please provide clarity on Rule 1.02 and define the term “Day Laborer.”
  • The record-keeping requirements of Rule 1.05 are onerous and will result in technical violations, which will subject businesses to considerable penalties. There are also concerns over an employee’s right to privacy, especially as to number 14 and details regarding employee compensation. Specific questions regarding Rule 1.05 include:
    • How does the cure period protect businesses from being penalized for technical violations of Rule 1.05?
    • Do the requirements of Rule 1.05 apply to businesses that frontload PTO?
    • Do the requirements of Rule 1.05 apply to businesses that adopt PTO policies that provide leave that exceeds the requirements of the PTO ordinance?
    • How should employers comply with Rule 1.05 and properly protect the privacy interests of their employees?
  • Clarity is needed to determine how hours are tracked for employees that work remotely from Chicago residences. For instance, if a company is located outside of Chicago and its operations are outside of the city, but an employee works from home in Chicago, will hours worked at home count towards accumulating PTO?
  • Clarity is needed with respect to Rule 2.07, specifically whether or not an employee can accrue paid leave or paid sick leave while suspended or otherwise placed on leave for disciplinary reasons.
  • There appears to be an error in PTO Rule 2.08(d)(i), and the appropriate text should read: “Small employers shall not be required to meet the requirements of PTO 2.08(d).”
  • PTO Rule 2.11 provides that employees seeking to use a fourth consecutive sick day (as defined in the ordinance and rules) must provide certain documentation but also states that an employer cannot deny and must pay this additional leave even if such documentation/certification is not provided. Please provide clarity on what appears to be contradictory statements in this rule.
  • PTO Rule 3.01 indicates that BACP may attempt to resolve complaints made against employers for violation of the PTO Ordinance by conference, mediation, conciliation, or persuasion. The PTO ordinance indicates that employers shall be fined for various technical violations of the PTO Ordinance. Will BACP be compelled to fine employers for violations in strict compliance with the PTO ordinance or have the discretion seemingly provided in the PTO rules.
  • Many small businesses do not have the resources or flexibility to track and keep up with the information these rules require. They do not have the sophisticated payroll system or HR department required to comply with this ordinance.

We appreciate the opportunity to present these comments and questions for your consideration. We also request a meeting whereby small business advocates can explore ways to make changes to the PTO proposed rules and PTO ordinance so that unintended consequences do not result in lost Chicago businesses and jobs.

Thank you for your consideration,

Elliot Richardson

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