Illinois Legislature Approves Bill to Raise Minimum Wage to $15.00, Sends to Governor for Signature
(Update from an earlier post on Illinois Minimum Wage)
The Illinois legislature has now passed the “Lifting Up Illinois Working Families Act,” under which the state’s minimum wage will increase to $15.00 per hour over the next six years. Governor J.B. Pritzker has stated that he intends to sign the bill into law prior to his first budget speech on February 20th.
Under the new law, the hourly minimum wage will increase to $9.25 on January 1, 2020; to $10.00 on July 1, 2020; to $11.00 on January 1, 2021; and an additional $1.00 per hour each January 1st thereafter, until reaching $15.00 on January 1, 2025. Employers may pay a slightly lower wage rate to employees under the age of 18, provided they work less than 650 hours a year. The law also provides a tax credit to those employers with less than 50 full-time-equivalent employees.
In addition to increasing the minimum wage, the law increases the remedies available to employees who are paid less than minimum wage. Employees will now be able to recover triple the amount of the underpayment; reasonable attorney’s fees and costs; and an additional payment (effectively, interest) of 5% of the amount of the underpayment for each month it remains unpaid. In addition, an employer that violates the minimum wage provisions will have to pay a statutory penalty of $1,500 to the Illinois Department of Labor Wage Theft Enforcement Fund, as well as a penalty of $100 per affected employee if it fails to maintain proper payroll records.