Today, Gov. Pritzker signed the Senate Bill 1 to raise the minimum wage for Illinois, and Illinois employers must be prepared for a series of significant wage increases. According to this new law, the state’s minimum wage would jump from its current $8.25 to $15 over the next five years. The first wage hike is set to go into effect on Jan. 1 of next year, when the state minimum wage will increase to $9.25 an hour and then to $10 an hour July 1, 2020. It would then increase each year by $1 an hour until it hits $15 an hour in 2025.[/caption]

This minimum wage hike will most likely affect other workers who have higher minimum wage by statute, such as the Chicago ($12) and Cook County ($11), which should follow suit with an increase in the near future as well. This increase will also have a cascading effect for employees who are currently making more than minimum wage, as they may request jumps I their hourly rate.

Employers Should Be Prepared

Employers should be vigilant and determine a course of action to remain in compliance with the upcoming changes in these wage rates. This includes raising employees’ salaries on the new effective dates, evaluating the classifications of hourly employees to salary employees, and/or considering paying smaller bonuses in light of the salary increases they must grant. In any event, employers should plan ahead and comply with the new law. Violations of minimum wage laws—even if unintentional—are costly. Employers may be liable not only for minimum wage underpayments and/or back pay or overtime compensation, but also for interest, attorneys’ fees and costs, and potentially liquidated damages equal to double the amount owed to the underpaid employee.

If you require any additional information concerning minimum wage rates or about any other employment-related issues, or would like to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC at (847)253-8800 or contact us online.

Waltz, Palmer & Dawson, LLC is a full-service law firm with various areas of service to assist your business, including: Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Commercial Real Estate, Business Immigration, Litigation and general Business Law services. Individual services include Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, Divorce and Family Law, Collaborative Divorce & Mediation.

This announcement constitutes attorney advertising. The material is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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