NEWSFLASH: New Minimum Wage Law Puts Illinois at the Forefront of “Fight for $15”
Authors: Audrey E. Gamble, Esquire & Alex W. Norlander, Esquire
On February 19, 2019, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law the “Lifting Up Illinois Working Families Act.” The Act will raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2025. In 2020, Illinois will see two wage bumps: on January 1st, the minimum wage will increase to $9.25 per hour, and on July 1st, it will increase to $10.00 per hour. From there, the minimum wage will increase by $1.00 every year until it reaches $15.00 per hour on January 1, 2025. The new law represents a victory for the grassroots labor movement “Fight for $15,” which has been active since 2012.
Illinois’ current minimum wage is $8.25 per hour, and it has not been increased since 2010. In that time, both the City of Chicago and Cook County have increased its minimum wage to $12.00 and $11.00 per hour, respectively. These localities will also receive a $1.00 per hour wage increase on July 1, 2020, but the local wage rates will be superseded if and when they are surpassed by the wage schedule of the Act.
In an attempt to lighten the load on small businesses, the Act will provide a temporary tax credit to businesses with less than 50 employees, which will be gradually reduced each year until it is eliminated. The Act also provides for a lower minimum wage for teenage workers who work less than 650 hours a year, whose minimum wage would peak at $13.00 per hour in 2025.
Illinois is the third largest state, in terms of workforce, to have passed a $15.00 minimum wage bill, after California and New York. It is estimated that 1.4 million workers, nearly a quarter of the Illinois workforce, currently make less than $15.00 per hour.
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