Employee FAQs for COVID-19 Outbreak

No. The City of Chicago has issued a new Sick Leave Policy Addendum that provides for paid time off for employees who contract the virus. The new Addendum applies to all employees with the exception of Sworn members of the Chicago Police Department and Uniformed members of the Chicago Fire Department who already receive up to one year of full pay and benefits if they are sick. 

 No.  “Quarantined” means a person who has not been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, but has been directed or ordered into quarantine by a public health agency or hospital. If you have been quarantined, you should first work with your department to see if it is possible to work from home. If it is not possible to work from home, you will be provided with paid time off and you will not have to use your own benefit time to cover your absence.

We encourage all employees who are sick to stay home until they are recovered. If you have an illness other than COVID-19, you will be allowed to use your benefit time to cover your absence. If you have run out of benefit time, we may advance you additional benefit time to cover your absence. Please contact your department’s human resources liaison to work with them on your benefit time options. 

If you need to remain at home to care for a minor child whose school has been closed due to COVID-19, you may use your benefit time to cover your absence. While the City will make best efforts to accommodate such requests, departments retain discretion to deny requests to utilize benefit time in order to maintain critical staffing levels. If you have run out of benefit time, we may advance you additional benefit time to cover your absence. Please contact your department’s human resources liaison to work with them on your benefit time options. 

While Departments will make best efforts to accommodate employees' utilization of benefit time during the COVID-19 outbreak, employees who perform critical functions may still be required to come to work.   

You will be ordered to stay home and monitor your health for 14 days. You should work with your department to determine if working from home is possible. If working from home is not possible, the City will provide you with paid time off and you will not have to use your benefit time so long as you did not voluntarily travel to a region or country listed as Level 3 after that designation was made by the CDC. If you voluntarily traveled to a Level 3 region or country after that designation was made by the CDC, you may use your benefit time to cover your absence.

Employees who can telework should do so upon approval from your Department Head. The expanded Telework Policy began on Wednesday, March 18th. It allows certain City employees who can perform their core job functions on a personal computer, tablet or similar electronic device to do so from home.

Your Department Head or Supervisors have or will soon discuss the new policy with you. Topics include:

  • Whether or not you qualify for Telework, based on the nature of your job and the needs of the Department.
  • Explaining the requirements for Telework, including keeping core hours, reporting, and staying in contact with your team.
  • Helping eligible employees obtain approvals to participate, including completing the required Telework Agreement.
  • Addressing technology-related requirements that must be satisfied in order to participate in the Telework Policy.  

Again, no one is permitted to begin teleworking unless and until approved by their Department.  Anyone who can and who is approved to work from home should do so, whether or not your function is deemed “essential” by the Department.

Please note that all employees - whether they are working at the work-site, working from home, or if their function is suspended - will be paid and will continue to receive normal benefits, like health care.

In these situations, we will ask you to sign a self-certification medical form. Please contact your Supervisor or Department Head for the form.

No, the City is not allowing employees to bring their children with them to work during this outbreak.         

Please contact your Supervisor ASAP to determine next steps.

For as long as you remain in a paid status your health insurance will remain active.  If you enter an unpaid status, you should contact your HR liaison to discuss options to keep your health care active.

No. You are still required to swipe in and out each work day, but you are not required to place your hand on the palm reader. We have implemented new temporary procedures for swiping: 

  1. Swipe your identification card with the picture side of the identification card facing you and the bar code toward the card reader. With the photo positioned at the bottom, slide the card from the top of the card reader to the bottom. 

NOTE: Before inserting the identification card into the card reader, ensure that the bar code on the identification cards is clean and dry. You can also enter your badge number instead of using the identification card. 

  1. Place your right hand into the mouth of the clock above the pegs. You do not need to place your hand on the card reader platform or make contact with the finger pins. 
  1. If needed, move your hand, very slightly from left to right, until the red alignment lights on the display go out. 
  1. When the green light flashes, a low-toned “beep” is heard, and the screen displays “OKAY,” your swipe has been accepted. 

If the time clock malfunctions or does not accept the swipe, please notify your immediate supervisor.


The City is following the guidance of the CDC and CDPH regarding which employees receive PPE. These government agencies are not recommending any PPE for employees with normal contact with the general public. Whether you are interacting with coworkers or with members of the public, the best way to protect yourself is to follow CDPH’s guidelines, including maintaining social distancing practices, washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face. You should visit www.chicago.gov/coronavirus for more information. 

Certain City employees who must interact with those known or suspected to be infected with COVID-19 are provided specialized PPE, including gloves and other equipment.  This includes certain first responders and medical professionals. 

 No. When possible, CDPH recommends meetings be held by phone or video/webinar. When in-person meetings are needed, or when you need to interact face-to-face with members of the public, CDPH is recommending that we employ “social distancing” strategies, which means avoiding large meetings where larger groups of people are in close proximity to each other. You should try to maintain a distance of at least three feet from the person next to you. Continue to follow CDPH guidance about personal hygiene and take other commonsense steps to protect yourself, such as refraining from shaking hands.  You should visit www.chicago.gov/coronavirus  for more information. As a reminder, all sick individuals should remain at home and all individuals with underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk should take extra precautions.

CDPH’s website has a number of pages with detailed guidance about how to stay safe. You should visit www.chicago.gov/coronavirus and click on “Resources” for more information.