Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau is against having the state or county mandate paid leave for all municipal employees. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau is against having the state or county mandate paid leave for all municipal employees. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park uses home-rule to avoid state law on paid leave

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By Jeff Vorva

The Village of Orland Park has decided not to follow a state mandate requiring paid leave for most workers in Illinois.

The village board on Nov. 20 approved a lengthy ordinance that basically says it will opt out of the Paid Leave for All Workers Act that takes effect on January 1. Illinois is the third state to enact such a law.

Gov. JB Pritzker signed the bill into law in March. It calls for one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked for most workers. Workers can start using the paid leave after March 31 or after 90 days on the job.

The law exempts independent contractors and employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement prior to January 1.

Orland Park is exercising its home-rule rights to circumvent the new law.

“This is unbelievable overstepping from the state of Illinois,” Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said before the vote. “And it looks like Cook County is about to do the same thing. It’s absurd that they are directing businesses and municipalities to give paid leave to everyone. Part-time employees included. Seasonal employees. High school lifeguards. High school parks [workers]. It’s absurd.”

Pekau said that the compensation packages that the village offers are fair.

“We obviously have a pretty healthy benefit package, as do most employers, for their fulltime people but they do that because they compete with other employers,” the mayor said. “It shouldn’t be the state directing that. It’s absolutely unacceptable for the state to be doing this to us and to anyone else.”

He pointed out that schools and park districts are exempt from the new law.

“They get special treatment but no one else does,” Pekau said. “They [the state] might as well exempt themselves, too.”

He said that this would also interfere with negotiations for employees’ contracts.

Pekau said similar laws and mandates for businesses have helped drive up the prices on consumer goods as well.

“When people are complaining about paying $8 for a bag of pretzels at the grocery store or $10.75 for a Big Mac meal that was five-something five years ago, you directly have the state of Illinois and Cook County to blame,” he said. “They are putting these costs for entry-level workers.

“I worked at a Circle K. I worked at an Arby’s. I worked delivering pizzas, so I’m sure we all have stories, right? We were entry-level workers. We were learning how to work while still building our education and everything else for our future careers. To saddle businesses with that is making it very hard for people to do business in this state and in this county.”

3 Comments

  1. Ken Duffy on November 22, 2023 at 12:01 pm

    This is a very good move by the mayor and village. I agree with everything he states here. Way to go mayor!



    • bull johnson on November 24, 2023 at 9:01 pm

      Governor Pritzker worst nightmare imaginable



    • William Wyatt on November 28, 2023 at 9:35 am

      Mayor Pekau is an idiot. Always has been, always will be. And, your comments make you suspect.



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