Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Minimum Wage Increase, Fair Workweek Ordinance, and More New Laws That Took Effect on July 1

While most people mark July 4 on their calendars, employers know that July 1 is also a day worth remembering because of the new laws that will impact their workplaces. Here are some of the new laws taking effect this July 1 that employers should take note of:

Minimum Wage Increase
Illinois’s second minimum wage increase of 2020 took effect on July 1. The minimum wage increased to $10/hr from $9.25/hr. The next minimum wage increase will take place on January 1, 2021, with wages increasing to $11/hr. The minimum wage will continue to increase $1/hr each January 1 thereafter until 2025, when it reaches $15/hr.

Chicago plans to reach its $15/hour goal by 2021, and as such, has accordingly raised its minimum wage to $14/hour from $13/hour on July 1. The minimum wage in suburban Cook County also increased to $13/hour on July 1.

Definition of “Employer”
On July 1 the definition of “employer” in the Illinois Human Rights Act was changed to mean anyone employing one or more persons in the state for 20+ weeks within the calendar year. Previously, an employer was defined as having 15 or more employees. This changed definition means that the size of an employer will no longer determine whether workers are protected from discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, sexual orientation, religion, and other protected classes under the Illinois Human Rights Act. Small businesses may now be subject to discrimination claims that did not previously apply.

Chicago’s Fair Workweek Ordinance
Chicago’s Fair Workweek Ordinance went into effect on July 1. This ordinance requires employers to give employees at least ten days advance notice of their schedules and provide “predictability pay” compensation for any last-minute changes. The Fair Workweek Ordinance applies to employees who earn less than $26/hour or $50,000/year, perform the majority of their work in the Chicago, and work in one of seven industries: building services, healthcare, hotels, manufacturing, restaurants, retail, and warehouse services.

Harassment and Discrimination Disclosure 
Employers are now required to annually disclose any adverse judgment or administrative ruling related to harassment or discrimination against them. An employer may be required to disclose information on sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination settlements if the Department of Human Rights is investigating a charge filed under the Illinois Human Rights Act and requests the information.