Chicago minimum wage increase to $15-an-hour takes effect

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago's minimum wage increase to $15-an-hour took effect Thursday.

For tipped workers, the rate goes up to $9-an-hour. Their employers are required to make up the difference if tips don't get them up to $15-an-hour.

The Cook County minimum wage for non-tipped workers will remain at $13-an-hour. The minimum wage is $6.60 for tipped employees.

"There is a great sense of pride that people have when they understand the power that they truly have to be able to make and create change, not only in their own lives but the lives of everybody else in the city," said Erica Bland-Durosinmi, SEIU Healthcare Illinois executive vice president.

Bland-Durosinmi was part of the team that coordinated for SEIU Healthcare Illinois, one of the organizations that led the charge to raise the minimum wage.

"They don't want to get paid the bare minimum when they are out working every day, and they deserve to share in the profits that they help create," she said.

"On its own raising min wage will give a raise are you ready for this for over 400,000 workers in our city," said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. "And what this means in practical terms aside from the money is it helps create financial stability for our most vulnerable workers most of whom work in restaurants home health care or child care industries. But we know that isn't enough."

Patricia Evans is a home care worker, and eager to see the bump in her paycheck, but she says 1%14 is not enough to live and thrive in a city like Chicago.

"Everybody benefits, more than just the worker; the person who is getting the service, the employer ultimately. If the workers are happy they don't turn over a lot," she said. " It's definitely progress but we shouldn't just sit down and act like we've arrived."

The minimum wage in Illinois is $11-an-hour and $6.60-an-hour for tipped workers. The minimum wage for workers under-18 in Illinois who work less than 650 hours in a calendar year is $8.50.

The Illinois minimum wage is scheduled to increase to $12-an-hour on January 1, 2022 and will gradually increase to $15-an-hour on January 1, 2025.
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