Mount Prospect opts out of wage, sick leave rules

Mount Prospect village board members Tuesday voted to opt out of Cook County's recently adopted minimum wage and sick leave rules.

The rules go into effect July 1, but all municipalities have the ability to opt out.

Mayor Arlene Juracek stressed the issue is equity between Cook County communities and their neighbors in the collar counties.

"This is not out of any malice or anything of that nature," she said.

Starting July 1, the Cook County minimum wage will be $10 an hour. It will go up to $11 an hour in 2018, $12 an hour in 2019, and $13 an hour in 2020.

The county also will require most private employers to offer at least five days of paid sick leave a year.

Businesses receiving Cook County's Class 6B tax incentive will still need to comply with the county ordinance.

"I think our concern is the same concern as to why we often support 6B applications," Juracek said. "(It) is that piecemeal creation of these kinds of rules creates imbalances between adjacent communities. Here, again, where we're fighting Lake County and DuPage County, it doesn't make sense.

"I personally believe that the county's ordinance is well intended. I understand, at least, that the job market has changed, and what we used to think of as transitional jobs for high school kids, people are now supporting families on those jobs."

She cited as examples such jobs as landscaper, waiter cook and retail worker.

"The sick leave thing is a very compassionate thing, but it's probably dealt with in my view better at a broader level, the state level, rather than a county, placing that county's businesses at a disadvantage," Juracek said.

She said she had in mind Hanover Park, which is in two counties and subject to two sets of rules.

Trustee Paul Hoefert said, "There are already plenty of reasons that companies want to move out of this county to the collar counties, and now (Cook County officials) have given them another reason."

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