Illinois minimum wage increases take effect July 1

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Minimum wage in Illinois and Chicago increase on Wednesday.

Starting July 1, minimum wage in Chicago will increase by $1 to $14 per hour for employers with more than 21 workers. Wages at smaller businesses will increase to $13.50.

In Cook County the minimum wage will increase to $13 an hour, and across the state of Illinois the minimum wage will rise to $10 an hour.

For a full-time minimum wage employee in Illinois, this increase will mean an extra $30 a week or about $120 more per month.

"I have two boys I take care of," said Ieshia Townsend, one of many Chicagoans living off a minimum wage job. "I take care of my brother and also my nephew. It will help me extremely a lot."

The Chicago Federation of Labor said while this will help many, the reality for workers like Iesha is that this wage increase still won't be enough. The mother of two said in addition to working at McDonald's, she and her husband both work extra jobs to make ends meet.

"They keep saying I'm an essential worker; if I'm an essential worker, we deserve $15 and a union and more," she said. "We all got families, we all work. We need a better living wage for the city of Chicago."

Chicago Federation of Labor officials agree.

"This is a great step for workers, but more needs to be done to life up the workers in Chicago and across the state of Illinois," said Don Villar, secretary treasurer for the Chicago Federation of Labor.

But the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce has said these wage increases will mean tough decisions for some businesses, particularly small businesses that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"For many of these small businesses, this is their life dream and they're seeing their life flash before their eyes, so we need to be balanced and look at all the burdens and mandates we're putting on business owners, particularly small businesses that are the backbone of our economy," said Jack Lavin, president and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to minimum wage increases taking effect July 1, so will the Fair Workweek Ordinance.

The Fair Workweek Ordinance allows for low-wage employees in certain industries to get their schedules in advance and compensate them for any last minute changes. The industries covered by the ordinance are building services, health care, hotels, manufacturing, restaurants, retail and warehouse services, as well as temporary workers in those covered industries.

For more information about who is covered and what protections the ordinance includes, visit chicagofairworkweek.com.
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