Fair Workweek Ordinance Passed by Chicago City Council

July 24, 2019

On Wednesday, the Chicago City Council put significant and long-overdue protections in place for low-wage workers—including advance notice of their work schedules and compensation for last-minute changes to those schedules. Parents with consistent work schedules are less likely to experience hunger, more likely to eat meals with their children, and more likely to have their children in a consistent care setting.

The passage of the Fair Workweek Ordinance is a victory for Chicago’s working families that we should all be thrilled about, but it leaves out one of the most important parts of our city’s workforce—child care providers. Early childhood professionals are our children’s earliest teachers, and they should be afforded the same respect, rights, and protections as the rest of the workforce.

Children learn more in their first three years than at any other time in their lives. The adults who care for them need stability and security, too. By exempting child care providers in Chicago—most of which are women and women of color— from the Fair Workweek Ordinance, we are guaranteeing that they will be among the least protected and paid workforce in our city.

Simply put: the people who care for our children may make better wages and have greater benefits and protections if they take a job at Target or Wal-Mart instead. Is this what we want?

We urge the City Council and Mayor Lightfoot to work on solutions to this issue, which could include; changing child care subsidies based on attendance to enrollment; increasing reimbursement rates; and making the child care funding system more equitable. These changes could be made in partnership with Governor Pritzker and his administration, who have committed to making Illinois the top state in the country for child care and early education.