ICYMI: Cook County and Chicago Minimum Wages Increased on July 1, 2019

Contributed by Noah A. Frank, Mike Wong, and Sara Zorich

stacked coins showing growth

In case you missed it, on July 1, 2019, the Chicago and Cook County Minimum Wages increased as follows:

·         Chicago: $13.00 per hour for non-tipped employees and $6.40 for tipped employees.

·         O’Hare and Midway Airport Certified Service Providers: $14.10 for non-tipped employees and $7.60 for tipped employees.

·         Cook County: $12.00 per hour for non-tipped and $5.25 for tipped employees.

July 1, 2019 also marks the 2-year anniversary of the implementation of the Cook County and Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinances.  While the full details are nuanced, these laws require all companies with a Chicago business license, or physical location or employee who works in Chicago or Cook County to provide up-to 40 hours of job-protected, paid leave (60 hours for employers subject to the FMLA) to employees for certain absences. Employees may accrue up-to 40 hours per benefit year while working in non-opt-out locations, with the right to carry-over some unused leave. Employees may not be required to find their own replacements as a condition for taking leave. Of course, discrimination and retaliation are prohibited.

Employers in municipalities that previously opted-out of the Cook County minimum wage or paid sick leave ordinances initially must stay up-to-date and monitor these laws as they can and do change, especially following an election. For instance, on October 9, 2018, Northbrook voted to repeal its prior opt-out, and so effective January 1, 2019, businesses in Northbrook are required to comply with the Cook County sick leave ordinance. Other municipalities have re-considered the issues over time as well.  Similarly, the state legislature has passed Senate Bill 0001, increasing the Illinois minimum wage as we blogged about in February.  S.B.0001 was signed into law on February 19, 2019 by Governor Pritzker and became PA 101-0001. State wide, Illinois’ minimum wage will increase to $9.25 on January 1, 2020 ($5.55 for tipped employees) and to $10.00 on July 1, 2020 ($6.00 for tipped employees), with regular $1.00 increases each January 1st thereafter until it is $15.00 on January 1, 2025.Employers that are subject to the Cook County or Chicago minimum wage and paid sick leave ordinances should review and make sure that they have the current required poster posted.  The updated poster for the Chicago Minimum Wage ordinance can be found on the City of Chicago website in English, Spanish, Polish and Mandarin; the Paid Sick Leave poster is only available in English.  The Cook County minimum wage and sick leave posters can be found on the Cook County websites and are only in English. Illinois has not updated its minimum wage poster (yet).

Employers that have failed to implement compliant policies, including tracking sick leave accrual or carryover should discuss options with employment counsel to mitigate exposures and minimize risk.