Illinois' minimum wage will be increased for the second time this year and small-midsize employers should be ready to comply. However COVID-19 might buy employers, who are unable to comply due to the pandemic, a little bit of time before being sued for violations.
Beginning July 1, 2020 the Illinois state minimum wage will increase to $10 per hour.
The minimum wage in Cook County will increase to $13 per hour. However, this higher minimum wage will not apply to all suburbs because many suburbs opted out of the Cook County Minimum Wage Ordinance (CCMWO). Therefore, employers should determine whether any suburb, where they operate, has opted out of the CCMWO. If an employer has opted out, then the Illinois state minimum wage increase of $10 per hour will apply.
City of Chicago
The minimum wage in the City of Chicago will increase to the following, respective of the number of employees:
- Small Employers (4-20) will increase to $13.50 per hour.
- Larger Employers (21 or more employees) will increase to $14 per hour.
- employers are required to provide all employees with notice of their wage increase.
- employers in Chicago are required to provide employees a written minimum wage notice with the first paycheck after July 1, 2020 ( English form / Spanish form).
- employers outside of Chicago should also inform their employees of the increase in the minimum wage rate but are not required to provide a specific form.
About Tipped Employees
- for Illinois state - the minimum wage for tipped employees will increase to $6.00 per hour.
- for some Cook County suburbs the minimum wage for tipped employees will increase to $5.30 per hour otherwise the increase will be $6.00 per hour.
- for the City of Chicago the minimum wage for tipped employees will increase to $8.40 per hour.
Federal law requires that all tipped employees receive notice that the employer is taking the tip credit (there is no requirement that the tip credit notice be in writing, but it is a best practice to provide a written notice). The notice must include:
- the new hourly rate;
- the amount of the tip credit taken (i.e., the difference between the full minimum wage and the tipped minimum wage);
- that all tips received by the employee must be retained by the employee (except for tip pooling/sharing arrangements); and
- that the tip credit will not be taken for employees who do not receive the notice.
Additionally, employers may count gratuities to offset wages for workers who regularly earn tips and may also pay tipped employees a minimum of 60 percent of the hourly minimum wage. However, those employees MUST still earn the minimum wage after receiving tips.
About Workers Under 18 yrs
- The minimum wage will increase to $8.00 per hour for employees who are under the age of 18 years and who work fewer than 650 hours in one year.
Comply or Risk Liability!
Employers should ensure minimum wage employee pay checks reflect the new minimum wage increase following July 1st. Otherwise, employers will risk very expensive penalties under the IL Wage Payment and Collection Act whereby violators could be assessed damages, administrative fees to Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) and other miscellaneous penalties.
Company officers and agents should take special note since each can be held personally liable for all unpaid wages, final compensation, damages and penalties.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic there is a little relief for employers whereby employees will not be able to sue over their employers’ violation of the rules until January 2021. Therefore if an employer is unable to comply by July 1st, because of the pandemic, the employer should use the additional time to remedy the violation before their employees can file a lawsuit.