Chicago, Cook County, Illinois raise minimum wage Wednesday
Wednesday, July 01, 2020
The Daily Line
by Hannah Meisel
Minimum wage workers in Illinois will see more money in their pockets starting Wednesday when the state increases their hourly wage.
The statewide minimum wage will rise to $10 per hour, while the hourly rate will jump to $13 an hour in Cook County and $14 an hour in Chicago.
Despite the strain Covid-19 has put on businesses throughout the state, there was no concerted effort by business groups to delay the pay bumps. Both the city and the state will eventually reach $15 an hour in 2021 and 2025, respectively.
Gov. JB Pritzker signed the bill last winter, setting the table for more legislative wins last spring and testing the waters for his ultimate goal: changing Illinois’ current flat income tax to a graduated tax, which goes before Illinois voters on the November ballot.
The minimum wage stood at $8.25 since 2010 and had moved to $9.25 the first on this year. It will increase to $11 by the end of the year and will increase a dollar ever year until 2025.
Chicago’s minimum wage, which had just hit $13 an hour last summer, was supposed to have begun increasing according to cost of living adjustments beginning Wednesday. However, Mayor Lori Lightfoot identified raising Chicago’s minimum wage to $15 as a priority, and fast tracked a wage increase ordinance through City Council late last year.
Illinois is one of seven states and the District of Columbia that have likewise set a $15 minimum wage, most of which will reach the $15 benchmark faster than Illinois.
Cook County’s minimum wage bump is the result of a 2017 ordinance that began raising the wage by a dollar each year until 2020, and then according to cost of living adjustments after that.
Tipped workers will see an increase in their base wages, from $6.40 to $8.40 an hour in Chicago. If tips don’t add up to the minimum wage, employers are required to make their employees whole, though many workers complain that practice isn’t always followed.
Smaller businesses in Chicago with four full-time employees or less won’t have as steep an increase in their required minimum wage. Workers under age 18 in both Chicago and Illinois will be paid less than the new wage increases but will still receive pay bumps.
Illinois’ FY 2021 budget, which also goes into effect Wednesday, includes millions more dollars in funding to pay for minimum wage increases and commensurate raises for human service workers contracted through the state.
The Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Child Care Assistance Program, for example, will see a 16 percent increase in appropriations this year, a boost partially necessitated by raises for workers. DHS’ Division of Developmental Disabilities will also see a $66 million increase in its budget, partially to keep up with minimum wage pressures for direct support professionals. The same is true for direct support professionals contracted with the agency’s home services program, who assist Illinoisans with disabilities in their own homes.
The labor organizations behind both wage hikes have launched public service announcements reminding workers to check their next paycheck to ensure their employers increased their wages and are following the law.