HR Management & Compliance

Chicago City Council raises minimum wage

by Steven L. Brenneman

With a mayoral election looming and opponents challenging him from the left, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed through a Chicago ordinance that will gradually increase the minimum wage to $13 per hour by 2019. Currently, the state minimum wage is $8.25 per hour. The new Chicago ordinance, passed December 2, establishes a $10-per-hour minimum wage on July 1, 2015. Increases of 50 cents per hour would be imposed in 2016 and 2017. After that, $1-per-hour increases would take effect in 2018 and 2019, with inflation-based increases thereafter.

The ordinance also raises the minimum wage for tipped employees by $1 over two years from the current state minimum of $4.95 to $5.45 as of July 1, 2015, and $5.95 as of July 1, 2016, to be indexed to inflation thereafter.

The Chicago ordinance follows a trend in other municipalities and states around the country to increase minimum wage rates.  Earlier this year, for example, Massachusetts and Vermont increased their minimum wages, and the city of Seattle passed a law that will phase in a record-setting $15 per hour minimum wage over the next seven years.

More details and ongoing coverage will be provided in Illinois Employment Law Letter.

Steven L. Brenneman is a partner and chair of the Employment Law Group at Fox, Swibel, Levin & Carroll, LLP, in Chicago and an editor of Illinois Employment Law Letter. You can reach him at

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