Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Minimum Wage Is Likely Headed Up

Today, a State House Committee will hear plans to increase the minimum wage for employees in Illinois to $15 an hour by 2025. The Senate has already approved this measure.

Under the Senate bill which passed last week, the current minimum wage of $8.25 would increase to $10.00 per hour next year and then increase by $1 an hour per year on January 1st of each year thereafter until 2025. The Senate version of this legislation passed along party lines by a vote of 39-18 and reflects Gov. Pritzker’s campaign promise to raise minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Both the City of Chicago and Cook County have previously raised the minimum wage in their jurisdictions to $12.00 per hour for workers in Chicago and $11 per hour for workers within Cook County. Many municipalities exercised their local governmental authority to opt out of the Cook County minimum wage ordinance. This option would not be available to municipal public employers should the State increase the minimum wage.

Two years ago, then Governor Rauner vetoed similar legislation, citing the negative impact on business in the State, especially small businesses. It seems though that the legislation will pass this time. Employers, especially public employers, should take note of the likely increase in the cost of employees as they establish their budgets for next year. Not only will the regular rate of pay for workers increase substantially, but the effect on the overtime rate will be even greater.