New Director will play a crucial role in protecting Chicago’s workers by overseeing the enforcement of Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave and Fair Workweek laws
CHICAGO, IL (STL.News) Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Commissioner Rosa Escareno Thursday announced the appointment of Andy Fox as the City’s first-ever Director of Labor Standards. Under the City’s first-of-its-kind role, Fox will implement the Mayor’s groundbreaking worker protection platform by managing the enforcement of Chicago’s landmark labor laws, including Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave and Fair Workweek.
“For far too long, Chicago’s workers have been overlooked,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Under Andy Fox’s leadership, the Office of Labor Standards will guarantee protection for our city’s most vulnerable workers. His impressive track record of public service and deep connection to the community make him ideally suited to launch this Office.”
A long-time resident of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, Fox is a career public servant, focusing on helping victims and representing those in most need of protection. As Chief Administrative Law Judge for the Illinois Department of Employment Security for the past eight years, Fox honed his experience with the nuances of labor issues and employment matters. Previously, he served as a Cook Country Prosecutor, handling cases involving sex crimes, juveniles and familial issues. Fox began his career in public service as a Spanish Bilingual Teacher at Chicago Public Schools.
“I am humbled and excited to join Mayor Lightfoot and Commissioner Escareno to advance the Mayor’s historic labor platform,” said Andy Fox, Director of Labor Standards. “I love Chicago and will work tirelessly to make sure all of our employees are given the protections they deserve.”
Fox will oversee the newly created Office of Labor Standards (OLS). Housed within BACP, the Office is the dedicated bureau charged with enforcing, administering, and conducting outreach in regard to Chicago’s labor laws, including Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave and Fair Workweek. To ensure that all Chicago’s employees and employers are aware of their rights and responsibilities, the Office has created a dedicated webpage, which can be found at www.chicago.gov/laborstandards. Employers, employees and residents can visit the website to learn all they need to know about Chicago’s labor laws.
“All Chicago workers should know that they have an ally at City Hall,” said BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareno. “BACP has made labor enforcement a priority of the Department, and under Mr. Fox’s leadership the Office of Labor Standards will take this effort to the next level.”
OLS will make Chicago’s trailblazing worker protections accessible and understandable for all employees. As a first step, the Office has created a universal, easy-to-understand complaint form, available on the OLS website, and which can be submitted by email. Employees can also use 3-1-1 to submit a complaint. A new Notice for Employers has been created to better communicate the information that must be posted at all places of employment. The Office also has launched a Workers’ Rights Campaign to inform employees of how OLS will work to protect their rights. Videos and more information can be found on the webpage and by following BACP’s social media accounts.
“The opening of the Office of Labor Standards signals that low-wage workers can win better city government!” said Arise Chicago Executive Director Rev. C.J. Hawking. “We welcome the arrival of Mr. Fox and the OLS enforcement team, who will bring the unlawful practices of unscrupulous employers to an end, and usher in a new era for enforcement. Now, the ‘city that works’ will have workers paid properly.”
Fox will be tasked with enforcing two of Mayor Lightfoot’s marquee pieces of legislation that come into effect on July 1, 2020. The strongest-in-the-nation Fair Workweek protections will ensure that hundreds of thousands of employees are guaranteed fair working conditions and scheduling stability. The new Minimum Wage regulations will increase the minimum wage to $14 in 2020 and $15 in 2021 while covering tens of thousands of workers that are currently exempt. Today, the Office of Labor Standards enforces the current minimum wage of $13/hour as well as Chicago’s Paid Sick Leave law, which guarantees one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.
In the coming months, Fox will be conducting a listening campaign with employers, workers and advocacy groups around the city, as he begins the rule-making process for the July 1 implementation of the new Minimum Wage and Fair Workweek laws. He will also provide annual reports to City Council on enforcement of these laws.
“As Chairwoman of the Committee on Workforce Development, I have worked closely with Mayor Lightfoot to pass marquee legislation protecting our workers,” said 10th Ward Alderman Susan Sadlowski Garza. “As Director of Labor Standards, Fox will carry out these signature laws and I am excited to work with him into the future.”
Fox holds a Law Degree from Chicago Kent College of Law and a Bachelor’s Degree from Loyola University Chicago. He is a member of the Latino Leadership Council and the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois.