Hoffman Estates opts out of wage, sick-leave laws
Hoffman Estates Monday joined a growing number of Northwest suburbs in opting out of Cook County's pending minimum-wage hike and requirement of paid sick leave for part-time workers, which both take effect July 1.
Village board members were unanimous in their vote, though Trustee Gary Stanton echoed his personal concerns of a week earlier by casting his with the provision the village could revisit its stance after July 1 if necessary.
During a committee recommendation vote last week, Stanton initially intended to make a motion that the village go along with Cook County in raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour this summer. But contrary to the county ordinance, he'd suggested keeping it steady rather than raising it $1 more an hour each summer through 2020.
He changed his mind after Village Attorney Art Janura reported that the Cook County state's attorney's office suggested neither counties nor municipalities had the authority to set minimum wages.
Though most board members agreed with keeping village businesses competitive with those in nearby counties, Hoffman Estates resident Marty Makielski criticized their position in a pair of letters he sent them.
"I do a lot of work with Catholic Charities and those (minimum-wage-earning) people are just struggling," said Makielski, who attended Monday's meeting.
Makielski said he didn't argue the matter as a moral issue in his letters, but as one of economic practicality. If businesses don't pay workers a living wage, it falls to the government and charities to subsidize them, he said.
Makielski added that he didn't accept board members' arguments that a statewide or national minimum wage was the only solution.
"You have to expect regional variations, and I think Cook County's large enough to define a region," he said.
Illinois' minimum wage is currently $8.25 an hour.
The Cook County sick-leave law requires businesses to provide part-time workers one hour of sick leave per 40 hours of work, up to five days a year.
Business organizations critical of the law have argued that the greater hardship it causes -- particularly for small businesses -- is the legal requirement to formally track employees' time, which can lead to higher payroll costs.
Other suburbs that have already opted out of the Cook County laws include Arlington Heights, Barrington, Bartlett, Elk Grove Village, Hanover Park, Mount Prospect, Palatine, Rosemont, Schaumburg, Streamwood and Wheeling.