Mandatory paid sick leave will hurt small businesses

Posted10/17/2016 1:00 AM

On Oct. 5, the Cook County Board of Commissioners passed a major regulation establishing mandatory paid sick leave in Cook County. This ordinance directly impacts every single business within Cook County regardless of size.

As commissioner of the suburban 17th District, I have deep concerns about the negative fiscal impact this will have on small businesses throughout suburban Cook County.

As a small business owner myself, I can't imagine how this government regulation would not place greater financial stress on small businesses. Will jobs have to be cut to cover this new significant regulatory cost?

Moreover, the vast majority of the 17th District borders DuPage and Will counties and this ordinance will likely create a serious competitive disadvantage for those Cook County businesses in proximity to the county border.

Several legal questions were raised regarding the mandatory paid sick leave regulation. Most importantly, is it even legal for Cook County government to mandate a paid regulation on private employers?

A state's attorney's opinion concluded the county lacks the authority to establish such a mandate. The meddling by the Cook County Board to mandate the private sector's pay requirements is a bridge too far, and I fear this ordinance will not meet the legal threshold if challenged in court.

A previous ruling by the Illinois State Supreme Court said allowing home rule units to govern local labor conditions would damage the General Assembly's carefully crafted and balanced economic policies. Which is why the appropriate venue for these types of economic policies to be addressed is in the Illinois General Assembly, not the Cook County Board.

Unfortunately, this is another example of overreaching authority by Cook County government and bad public policy. For these reasons and several more, I strongly opposed this ordinance.

Sean M. Morrison, Cook County Commissioner

Palos Park

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