- Feb 19, 2019
In the wake of election campaign promises, Illinois legislators used an unusually fast track to push through a statewide minimum wage increase. A bill to raise the minimum wage for most employees to $15 by 2025 passed both houses of the General Assembly in February. At press time Governor Pritzker was expected to quickly sign it into law.
The bill passed by both the Senate and house increases the minimum wage to $9.25 beginning January 1, 2020, followed by annual increases culminating in a $15 wage in 2025. Businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees are eligible for a credit to ease the burden of the increase, but the credit is reduced at the start of 2021.
A sub-minimum wage will still be available for workers under 18, maxing out at $13 in 2025. The new law also preserves a tip credit for restaurants. The bill does not contain any regional differences in wages, a strategy that was promoted by some suburban and downstate business groups.
Northbrook officials have closely watched developments in Springfield, in response to local voters’ support in the last election for a minimum wage increase. The Village opted out of Cook County’s wage increase ordinance in 2017, reflecting concern that higher costs in border communities like Northbrook would place local employers at an unfair disadvantage and drive business to Lake County. Since then, wage increase activists have sought a reversal of that decision at several Board meetings.
Village Trustees indicated in December that an increase at the statewide level will be relevant to any reconsideration of the Cook County increase. Meanwhile, the Cook County minimum wage will rise from $11 to $12 as of July 1, with annual increases to come.
Business owners are encouraged to share their views on minimum wage increases with their elected officials.