Ill. Chicago City Council Raises Minimum Wage to $13 by 2019

By SHRM Online staff Jan 5, 2015
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The Chicago City Council approved an ordinance to raise the minimum wage from $8.25 per hour to $10 per hour by next July with incremental increases to $13 per hour by July 1, 2019.

The ordinance increases the minimum wage as follows:

  • $10 per hour by July 1, 2015.
  • $10.50 per hour by July 1, 2016.
  • $11 per hour by July 1, 2017.
  • $12 per hour by July 1, 2018.
  • $13 per hour by July 1, 2019.

Beginning on July 1, 2020, minimum wage increases will be annual and automatic, indexed to the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all urban consumers. However, increases are capped at 2.5 percent, and there will be no annual increase if Chicagos unemployment rate was 8.5 percent or higher in the preceding year.

The ordinance also raises the minimum wage for tipped employees in Chicago by $1 over two years, from the current state minimum of $4.95 to $5.45 as of July 1, 2015 and $5.95 as of July 1, 2016, and will be indexed to inflation every July 1 going forward.

Any employer who violates the minimum wage requirements is subject to a fine of not less than $500 or more than $1,000 for each offense. In addition, an employee who is paid less than minimum wage can file a civil suit for three times the amount of any underpayment, together with costs and such reasonable attorney's fees as the court allows.

The measure, sponsored by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Alderman Will Burns, Alderman Pat OConnor and several other aldermen, is expected to increase the earnings for approximately 410,000 Chicago workers and inject $860 million into the local economy.

“A higher minimum wage ensures that nobody who works in the City of Chicago will ever struggle to reach the middle class or be forced to raise their child in poverty,” Emanuel said. “Today, Chicago has shown that our City is behind a fair working wage.”

"The residents of the City of Chicago deserve a raise and today, we have taken an important step to ensure that more than 400,000 workers have a chance to reach the middle class,” said Alderman O'Connor, chairman of the City Council Committee on Workforce Redevelopment and Audit. “It is a good day for the City of Chicago and for its residents."

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