Wilmette Village to Decide Whether to Opt In to County Earned Sick Time Law

Wilmette Village (IL) Board of Trustees tonight will decide whether to opt in to the Cook County Earned Sick Time Ordinance from which the Village Board opted out last year. More than 80% of the County’s 132 municipalities have opted out of the County’s sick time ordinance.  The Village of Western Springs (IL) recently became the first municipality to opt into the County ordinance after having opted out of it.

Regardless of the Board’s decision tonight, PSL kudos to the Village for the process leading to the vote.  After opting out last year, Wilmette Village established a “working group” to study the paid sick leave (and minimum wage) issue.  In April 2018, the group issued a comprehensive analysis of the impact of adopting PSL on employees, businesses and residents in the Village.

The aspect of the report that warrants significant kudos is its color-coded “framework for identifying a hierarchy of information” cited in the report, from the most to the least reliable information, and the weight to be given each type of information. For example, facts and data are coded green and given very high weight, while non-peer-reviewed studies by advocacy groups are coded yellow and given “moderate [weight], depending on availability of other, peer reviewed studies.”

I was impressed with this approach because, to state the obvious, all information is not of the same quality. There are facts, arguments, and statistics. To no one’s surprise, PSL studies inevitably support the view of the advocacy group that sponsored the study. Once such a study is published, others on the same side of the issue cite it as if it were gospel.

I was also impressed with the fact that the working group study analyzed all employee paid time off, not just sick time.  Often, advocacy pieces cite that X percent of employees do not receive any paid sick time, suggesting that if a law is passed, everyone without sick time will get sick time, while omitting the fact that under all PSL laws, a “safe harbor” allows employers to use any existing paid time off—vacation, personal days, PTO– to satisfy the sick pay requirement.

In addition to PSL developments in Wilmette, today will be the second day of hearing in the lawsuit seeking to enjoin the Austin Paid Sick Leave Ordinance.