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Chicago's fair workweek law takes effect Wednesday as businesses grapple with pandemic uncertainty

Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Business News

CHICAGO -- Starting Wednesday, many Chicago employers will be required to give employees advance notice of their schedules and pay a premium for last-minute changes.

The city's "fair workweek" law is a victory for worker advocates who say unpredictable schedules, and uneven paychecks, make it hard to plan for child care, hold down a second job or pay bills.

It take effect as businesses grapple with numerous pressures wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, including uncertain consumer demand. Trade groups pushed unsuccessfully for the city to delay implementation of the law to give employers more time to prepare.

Who is covered by the law

While other cities, and some states, have adopted legislation to stabilize workers' schedules, Chicago's law affects the most industries. It covers employees who work in heath care and manufacturing as well as in restaurants, retail, hotels, warehouses and building services.

Only employees who make less than $26 an hour or $50,000 a year are covered by the protections.

 

The law applies to businesses with 100 or more employees, to nonprofits with more than 250 employees, to restaurants with at least 30 locations and 250 employees globally, and to franchisees with four or more locations.

There are exemptions for employees who work at ticketed events. Workplaces with collective bargaining agreements are exempt as long as the ordinance is explicitly waived in their contracts.

What the law requires

Employers will have to give workers at least 10 days' advance notice of their schedules. That will grow to a minimum of 14 days' notice on July 1, 2022.

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