Illinois is a midwestern state in the United States with farmlands, forests, hills, and many wetlands. It is the state where Chicago, one of the biggest and most important cities in the United States, is located.
Illinois's economy is rising because of its three main industries - real estate, manufacturing, and financial services. These and other sectors in the state are generating more business and employment.
But in order to run a legally compliant organization, a full thorough knowledge of the minimum wage in Illinois is needed. That is what this article is all about.
What is the Minimum Wage in Illinois?
Currently, in 2023, the minimum wage in Illinois is $13.00 per hour, which is almost twice as much as the Federal Minimum Wage ($7.25). The state’s minimum wage rate is also higher than the one applicable in most states in the U.S.
In 2008, just like many other states, Illinois increased its state minimum wage. But later, instead of sticking to the Federal Minimum Wage, the Illinois Department of Labor raised the minimum wage by $4.25 from $7.75 to $13.00 per hour, which is the current rate.
Employers in Illinois must pay their employees the higher of the state or federal minimum wage. So that means the minimum wage in Illinois is $13 per hour and not the federal $7.25 per hour.
Illinois Weekly Minimum Wage
At minimum wage, an employee in Illinois can earn $520 per week for 40 hours of work.
An employee of Illinois earning a minimum wage is sure to receive an annual salary of $27,040.
Illinois Overtime Minimum Wage
The Overtime Minimum Wage Law in Illinois, much like the overtime minimum wage in other states, states that employees are entitled to an overtime pay equivalent to 1.5 times their hourly wage.
This only applies to those working for over 40 hours in a week unless the occupation or job position falls in the exempted category.
How is Illinois Minimum Wage Different from the Federal Minimum Wage?
In 2019, Illinois state increased its state minimum wage to $10.00 from $8.25 per hour. This was possible because J.B. Pritzker, the 43rd governor of Illinois since 2019, signed legislation stating that each year the minimum wage will increase by $1.00 until it reaches $15.00 by 2025.
Currently, in 2023, the state minimum wage is $13.00 per hour, which will increase to $14 in 2024. The increase has been instrumental in decreasing the number of people under the poverty line in Illinois.
Who Qualifies for Minimum Wage?
Almost every employee in Illinois state will get the higher state minimum wage. However, the minimum wage law does not apply to exempted occupations and job positions.
We have listed some exempted occupations that will receive a subminimum wage instead of the standard minimum wage to help you understand this.
A subminimum wage is given to those employees who do not qualify for the standard minimum wage. The Illinois Department of Labor has to certify subminimum wages for some employees before an employer can implement it.
1. Disabled Employees
Employers can hire people with disabilities, offering them a subminimum wage instead of the standard minimum wage.
It is only possible if the employer has a valid license from the Illinois Department of Labor regarding the matter.
The employer can apply for an authorized license to issue a subminimum wage to the Department of Labor. The license has a validity of one year and must be renewed by the labor department before the validity ends.
Moreover, the Illinois Department of Labor sets a specific subminimum wage rate based on disabled employees' performance, productivity, and earnings.
According to Illinois Minimum Wage Laws, learners 18 or younger or those who are aged can be paid 70% of the standard minimum wage set by the state.
A learner will receive such subminimum wage for up to 6 months or as long as they are learners.
However, the Illinois Department of Labor states that an employer must stop paying the learner subminimum wage after they complete their learning period.
Moreover, employers cannot hire learners for restricted occupations requiring a high skill level. Moreover, employers cannot hire learners for positions that have no scope for learning.
There are also penalties for employers if they try to replace their regular experienced workers with learners just to stabilize the wage rate of the company.
An employer needs to get a license from the Illinois Department of Labor to authorize the learner’s subminimum wage. Employers need to file an application for the permit to the department and wait for the authorization.
3. Tipped Employees
Currently, the minimum wage for tipped employees in Illinois is $7.80, but it will increase by $0.60 every year.
Employers can only pay tipped employees 60% of the standard minimum wage when their job position occasionally ensures they earn more gratuities. An employer should make this commitment clear when hiring.
Additionally, Illinois employees must not receive anything below $20 per month in tips.
There are many other responsibilities that an employer should ensure when calculating tipped employees’ wages. They should make sure that the tipped employee receives the standard minimum wage after combining the tips with the subminimum wage.
It is the full responsibility of the employer to provide the tipped employee with the standard minimum wage per month after combining the tips.
4. Student Workers and Learners
According to Illinois Minimum Wage Laws, student workers and employees can earn 75% of the set standard minimum wage. However, the employers will need to obtain a license for the subminimum wage of the employees.
Historical Change of Minimum Wage in Illinois
The state of Illinois had a shift in the minimum wage rate back in 2008. Then for 11 years, it remained unchanged until, in 2019, legislation by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker started a process to incrementally increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025 for all employees (except those in exempt categories).
Here is a list of the changes in minimum wages that occurred in Illinois from 2011 to 2023:
Change in Minimum Wage
January 1, 2023
January 1, 2022
January 1, 2021
January 1, 2020
January 1, 2019
January 1, 2018
January 1, 2017
January 1, 2016
January 1, 2015
January 1, 2014
January 1, 2013
January 1, 2012
January 1, 2011
1. What is the Federal Minimum Tipped Wage compared to Illinois?
Right now Illinois provides $7.80 per hour as minimum wage for tipped employees. The remaining difference will be either fulfilled by the employer or by combining the tips. Compared to that, the Federal Minimum Wage for tipped employees is only $2.13, which is less than half of what Illinois law mandates.
2. Are There Possibilities for an Increase in Illinois’ Minimum Wage in 2024?
According to the State Labor Laws of Illinois, the state minimum wage will keep increasing annually until it reaches $15 by 2025. So, residents of Illinois can look forward to a $14 per hour minimum wage in 2024.
3. What is the Minimum Wage in Chicago, Illinois?
Chicago city has a higher minimum wage than the state. Compared to the state, companies with over 21 employees must pay $15.40 per hour, which is $3.40 more than the state minimum wage in Illinois. On the other hand, companies with 4 to 20 employees must pay $14.50 per hour.
4. Can Illinois employers fire employees for asking to see the Minimum Wage Rate?
Employers are bound to show or display the current minimum wage rate as posters to their employees. Failing to do so and retaliating against an employee for asking to see it will result in legal repercussions. Moreover, an employee can also file a complaint against the employer if they try to do anything that breaks the labor laws. So, no, employers cannot fire employees or take any other retaliatory measures for requesting to see the minimum wage rate.