Laws are established for various reasons, mainly to keep citizens safe and provide for a fair society. The state of Illinois has several new laws taking effect in 2021, one of which affects employers and their employees. The minimum wage will increase to $11 per hour for standard workers; $6.60 per hour for tipped workers, and $8.50 per hour for workers under the age of 18 who work less than 650 hours in a calendar year. This new legislation is part of a staggered plan that will eventually raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. However, many retailers have expressed concern that they cannot afford this new hourly rate after struggling to stay open during the pandemic. Whether you own a small start-up or a well-established company, it is important to understand the legal consequences for hourly wage violations in Illinois.
A Gradual Increase
Although the wage rate increase for 2021 is meant to assist the entire Illinois workforce, it will gradually increase depending on what part of the state you live in. On July 1, 2021, the minimum wage in Chicago will increase to $15 per hour, or $14.50 per hour for employees at companies with 20 or fewer employees. The minimum wage for tipped workers will increase to $9.00 per hour, and employers are required to make up the difference if the base wage plus tips does not equal $15.00 per hour.
Penalties for Wage Violations
All employers have an obligation to know the minimum wage laws and are required to post the Fair Labor Standards Act provisions in a place where workers can easily read them. If a company pays a worker less than what is mandated by federal minimum wage laws, or neglects to adhere to overtime pay guidelines, the employer may be required to go to court and face maximum penalties. The Wage Payment and Collection Act issued by the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) designates when, where, and how often wages are to be paid and prohibits deductions from wages or compensation without a worker’s consent. It is important to note that federal and state government employees are considered exempt and therefore cannot file claims under the Act....