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Cook County approves boost of hourly minimum wage to $13

The hourly minimum wage in suburban Chicago will be increased to $13 in action taken by the Cook County board.

Wednesday's action will gradually raise the minimum wage. The first increase, to $10 an hour, takes effect July 1, 2017. The wage rises to $11 a year later and to $12 in July 2019. It becomes $13 an hour in 2020.

The law applies to the entire county, including unincorporated areas. However, home-rule communities can vote to opt out of the increase.

Trade groups representing the retail and restaurant industries oppose the measure, saying businesses operating on 3 to 5 percent profit margins already are squeezed by a battery of cost increases, including a federal rule extending overtime pay to millions more Americans that takes effect Dec. 1.
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