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Recently and with much encouragement, the Chicago City Council approved the Fair Workweek Ordinance, a mandate that was 2 years in the making. The ordinance requires employers to share their employee’s schedules at least 10 days, 2 work weeks, ahead of time. By July 1, 2020, failure to comply with this law or changing an employee’s work schedule unexpectedly within this 2-week timeframe can result in heavy fines for the company. Businesses, aldermen, committee members, and employees alike stood together after the approval of the new law.


It seems redundant that a law would need to be passed for employers to provide their employees with a routine schedule for work, but luckily for Chicagoans, they can rest easy knowing that they do not need to check their schedule daily to be sure it hasn’t changed last minute. Mayor Lightfoot noted that while this was not a unanimous decision, it is a good start to the type of progression that she hopes to bring to the city on a a number of issues during her time in office.


However, as with any new law that passes in the great state of Illinois, it comes with future ramifications that need to be considered. The business community of Chicago is proceeding with caution and slight uncertainty as to the future corollaries of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration. Is this the beginning of a slippery-slope of intrusive business regulations?


This ordinance is issued to hospitality and human care businesses like health care, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, and more. Many are worried about the lack of pliancy that this new law protrudes on schedules that depend on flexible hours and adaptability. Hospital workers often are called in to cover unpredictable volume, while hotel and restaurant staff are able to trade and switch shifts to accommodate personal changes in their schedules. Some industries are worried about the cost of the fines as a result of circumstances that are beyond their control and simply the nature of their jobs.


As with any change, especially to a metropolitan hub like Chicago, there will be those who agree with the passing of the law and those who do not. Luckily, those who do not have a year to learn how to operate within the confines of this new ordinance before it takes effect. In 2021, the notice will move from 10 days to 14 days, giving employees even more peace of mind with their schedules.


The next issue that the committee plans to tackle is the raise of the minimum wage to $15/hour. With a jump in wages comes other labor issues as a result and a budget to alter. This will likely bring with it a new wave of business owners and operators who intend to keep a close watch on Lightfoot’s next moves.