City Council News

City Council Update 7/6/16

July 6, 2016
Ride Sharing: City Council passed a law updating rules for ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft. In the new ordinance, ride-share drivers must take an online or in-person, one-day course and pass a criminal background check administered by the ride-share company. The ordinance also approved conducting a six-month study on fingerprinting drivers for background checks and six months for ride-share companies to devise a plan for expanding accessibility for the disabled. The ordinance goes into effect in August 2016.

Home Sharing: City Council passed rules on home-rental companies like AirBnb, HomeAway, and VRBO. The new rules require homeowners to register their property with the city for a $25 fee and limits the number of units that can be rented out in a single building. In areas of the city with single-family homes, residents can gather signatures to ban new listings in their precinct, or only allow rental of a “primary residence” of the lister. If the petition gets signatures from 25% of registered voters in the precinct, the alderman for the area will be able to introduce a City Council ordinance enacting the ban for four years. The ordinance also includes four percent tax on each rental to fund services for homeless Chicagoans and a $60 fee, per listing, to be paid by the rental company. Most of the provisions of the law go into effect in November 2016.

Sick Leave: The council approved a requirement that workers in Chicago must earn, over the course of one year, at least five paid sick days at a rate of one hour earned for every 40 hours worked. Workers are able to roll over up to 2.5 days unused sick days to the following year; and new employees can use accrued sick leave after an initial six month probationary period. Workers may use their earned sick time to seek medical treatment and care for themselves or dependents, and sick time may also be used by domestic violence victims to access legal and/or judicial proceedings. Employers already offering combined leave benefits such as Paid Time Off (PTO) are exempt from these requirements so long as employees could accrue and use up to five days of PTO within a calendar year. Employers are not required to pay out unused sick days. The ordinance will take effect in July 2017.

Towing Bill of Rights: The City Council also approved a “towing bill of rights” in response to complaints about unfair practices by towing companies. Tow-truck companies are now required to post signs and rates, photograph the illegally parked vehicle before towing and release vehicles if the owner arrives with the keys before it is towed. Also, if the owner of a towed car isn’t able to immediately pay the fine to retrieve the vehicle, the company must give the owner access to the vehicle to retrieve any personal belongings.