Rosemont opts out of Cook County minimum wage, sick day rules

  • Rosemont's village board on Wednesday joined Barrington among the first towns in the Northwest suburbs to opt out of new Cook County ordinances increasing the minimum wage and mandating employers pay for sick days.

    Rosemont's village board on Wednesday joined Barrington among the first towns in the Northwest suburbs to opt out of new Cook County ordinances increasing the minimum wage and mandating employers pay for sick days. Courtesy of Village of Rosemont

 
 
Updated 12/14/2016 4:57 PM

Rosemont's village board on Wednesday formally opted out of new Cook County rules mandating businesses pay employees for sick days and higher minimum wages.

Barrington also opted out of the rules last month, and other Northwest suburbs have said they are drafting similar ordinances.

 

The pushback follows the Cook County Board's approval in October of two measures that supporters argue help workers, but business groups oppose.

Within its 2.5-square-mile boundaries, Rosemont is home to a number of hotels, offices and entertainment venues -- many of whom employ lower-wage workers who would have been affected by the new rules.

Mayor Brad Stephens said he believes it's best for local governments not to get involved, leaving those decisions up to the state and federal governments.

"If businesses want to pay employees more, they can. If they want to pay paid sick days, they can," Stephens said.

The new Cook County minimum wage will be $10 an hour on July 1, 2017, then go up to $11 an hour in 2018, $12 an hour in 2019, and $13 an hour in 2020.

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Municipalities can opt out of the new rules, and a Rosemont ordinance unanimously approved by the village board Wednesday calls for the minimum wage to be set at the state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher.

The current Illinois minimum wage is $8.25.

The village board also approved an ordinance opting out of Cook County's new sick leave ordinance, which also takes effect in July and will require most private employers to offer at least five days of paid sick leave a year.

Stephens on Wednesday called it "an employer-employee issue," adding that many businesses already provide paid sick leave.

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