Illinois Labor Laws

Updated: 03/17/2020

Illinois Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in Illinois, as of January 1, 2020, is $9.25 per hour, with adjustments allowed for new employees, youth and tipped employees in some cases. The rate is scheduled for minimum wage increases at set intervals until it reaches $15 per hour in 2025.

USA map with Illinois superimposed

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History of Illinois Labor Laws

Illinois has a strong labor union history and was one of the first states to enact laws intended to protect workers. The first state child labor laws limiting hours worked for minors was passed in 1903, and in 1909 the first rule in the state to improve safety and health was passed.

Illinois has remained a strong labor state, even as federal rules reworked the labor union rules with acts like the Taft-Hartley Act, which was passed in 1947.

Today, Illinois continues to enact laws protecting labor. These include laws to raise the minimum wage ahead of the federal level, banning employers from asking about salary history, codifying the right of the worker to discuss salary with other employees in the workplace, and increasing penalties for discrimination.

Further, the Workplace Transparency Act (WTA) (effective January 1, 2020), bans or severely restricts specific clauses in employment contracts such as non-disclosure and non-disparagement sections used to silence employees from making truthful statements.

Municipality Minimum Wage Laws

Illinois currently allows counties and cities to set other minimum wage laws. The local rate cannot fall below the federal minimum, and the more favorable rate for the employee always prevails.

Cook County passed a county minimum wage law in 2016. As of July 1, 2019, the minimum wage rate in the county was $12 per hour with a scheduled July 1, 2020, raise to $13 per hour.

The Cook County minimum wage rate will become indexed to the Consumer Price Index for future adjustments as of July 1, 2021. The minimum wage increase rate is capped at no more 2.5% per year and will not rise if Cook County experiences unemployment of at least 8.5% the previous year.

Chicago is the only city in Illinois (as of January 2020) with a separate minimum wage rate. Chicago passed a minimum wage ordinance in 2014. As of July 1, 2019, the Chicago minimum wage is $13 per hour.

In July 2020, the Chicago minimum wage becomes indexed to the Consumer Price Index for further adjustments. Similar to Cook County, future changes are capped at 2.5% per year and will not be raised if the previous year showed unemployment of at least 8.5% in Chicago.

Illinois Minimum Wage Law Exemptions

Illinois has several minimum wage law exemptions in addition to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) federal rules. Federal law considers the more advantageous rule for the worker to prevail in most cases.

Job duty minimum wage exemptions and exempt employees include executives, learned and creative professionals, computer workers, administrative workers and outside sales workers. Alternative minimum pay rates required for each category vary.

Illinois does allow a tip credit for tipped employees in some cases, but tip credits and direct pay must at least match the highest applicable minimum wage rate.

Under Illinois rules, new workers over age 18 may be paid as much as 50 cents per hour less for the first 90 days of employment.

While the state minimum wage does not normally cover minor workers, there is an hourly exemption. As of January 1, 2020, if a minor worker is under age 18 but works at least 650 hours in a given employment year (calculated from their date of hire, not calendar years), the worker must be paid the standard minimum wage for those over 18 moving forward.

In other cases, the state minimum wage for minors is $8 per hour.

Individual requests for special permission to employ certain mentally or physically handicapped workers at sub-minimum wage rates may be submitted to the state for individual decisions and rates.

Illinois allows meals and lodging to be considered part of minimum wage pay, but only under very limited circumstances.

Illinois Posting Requirements

Illinois requires several state-related wage and labor law posters. It also allows the posters for the Child Labor Law, Minimum Wage Law, Wage Payment and Collection Act, Equal Pay Act, Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act, and the One Day Rest in Seven Act to be combined so that fewer posters are needed.

Some employers may be subject to additional posting requirements based on industry. For example, day and temporary labor agencies must post the Day and Temporary Labor Services Act information.

General Required Posters:

  • Minimum Wage
  • Job Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
  • Workers' Compensation
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Servicemember Employment and Reemployment
  • Pregnancy Rights
  • Payday Notice
  • Emergency Care for Choking
  • No Smoking

Additional Posters:

  • Employee Classification Act – Required for all Construction Contractors Utilizing Independent Contractors
  • Safety and Health Protection on the Job – Public Sector Employers need to post

Tipped Wage in Illinois

Illinois follows the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act rules allowing tip credits. However, Illinois caps the tip credit amount at 40% of the state minimum wage. As with other issues falling under FLSA, the most advantageous applicable law applies to employees.

For the state of Illinois, the tipped wage direct rate is $5.55 per hour (as of January 1, 2020). For Cook County, the tipped minimum wage is $5.25 per hour (as of July 1, 2019), and for Chicago, the minimum wage for tipped employees is $6.40 per hour (also as of July 1, 2019).

All of these rates are set to increase as the standard minimum wages in those areas increase moving forward.

State law allows for the state training wage discount to be applied to tipped wage employees as well, using the 40% tip credit level from the state training minimum wage rate for the first 90 days of employment.

Illinois state laws do not address tip pooling, so it falls under FLSA rules, as discussed below.

Overtime Wage in Illinois

Illinois overtime wage is part of the state minimum wage laws instead of a separate overtime law. Outside of exceptions, Illinois overtime law requires that employees be paid time and one half their regular rate for any hours over 40 worked in that employee's workweek.

Comp time (compensatory time) in lieu of overtime pay is prohibited from non-government companies in Illinois.

Workweeks are fixed based on the employee's usual workweek and do not have to be a calendar week. However, once determined, the workweek remains fixed and is not flexible weekly based on work schedule.

Regular pay rate calculations may not include specific premiums paid to employees as outlined in the state law.

Pay type is not an exclusion from overtime rules in Illinois. Those paid piece rates, flat fees with fluctuating hours, salary, day rates, and others are still included in overtime rules unless specifically exempted. Each alternative pay type has a separate calculation to determine when overtime is due and what is considered the regular rate of pay for the employee.

Job duty exemptions in Illinois for overtime include the same categories as state minimum wage exemptions in many cases, including executives, learned and creative professionals, computer workers, administrative workers and outside sales workers. Requirements for classifications must be met depending on the category of worker.

Further, agricultural workers, some vehicle dealership salesmen and mechanics, some radio or television employees, those in workplace hour exchange programs, and employees in some residential or education child care facilities are exempted.

Child Labor Laws in Illinois

Illinois, like most states and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, limits what types of jobs minors can do, when they can work and requires work permitting. Illinois minor labor rules address wage-and-hour issues.

All minors under age 16 in Illinois must obtain both work permission permits and physical fitness to work certificates. This includes minors involved in modeling, acting or other entertainment performance work.

In addition to the FLSA prohibited and hazardous work designations, Illinois has 26 jobs that are considered too hazardous for minors to perform.

A special state training minimum wage (available unless another law covering the minor provides a higher rate) is allowed for minors under age 18. This rate is $8 per hour as of January 1, 2020.

Further, once any worker under age 18 works at least 650 hours during an employment year, their employer must pay them the adult state minimum wage moving forward. An employment year is calculated as 12 calendar months from date of hire. It is not a straight calendar year.

For minors working as performers in artistic or otherwise rendering creative services, Illinois child labor law requires a trust fund to be established and a minimum of 15% of their gross earnings be deposited into that trust fund.

Exceptions to minor work restrictions in Illinois exist for some specific occupations. These include agriculture work for parents on the family-owned farm (age 12 and up), work in-home outside school hours and non-business related, golf caddies (over age 13), and sports official work in some cases (12- and 13-year-olds).

Minors are restricted from working during school hours (although some government-sponsored work programs are exempted) and may not do any work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. except for school summer break. During the school summer break of June 1 to Labor Day, minors may work as late as 9 p.m.

When working, minors must be given at least a 30-minute break for a meal period no later than five hours into their shift.

Employer Recordkeeping Requirements

Illinois recordkeeping requirements vary by industry and age of the employee.

In general, employee information (name, address, Social Security number, etc.) must be kept along with records of pay rate, when paid, hours worked and other standard payroll information for at least three years.

Those employing minors must keep work and fitness certificates along with employee schedules showing break times. Details of hours and days worked along with payment information must also be kept.

If an employer participates in the E-Verify program, there are additional requirements on recordkeeping and may be special circumstances surrounding the state’s Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act.

Those in the day labor and temporary labor industry must additionally keep records regarding the third-party employer and make those records available to the employee within five days upon request.

Recent Illinois Labor Law Updates

Minimum Wage - Mandatory - December 2019

Updated to reflect the new minimum wage rate of $9.25 per hour effective January 1, 2020. Also added a "Wage Increases Schedule" which includes future wage increases up through 2025. Under the "Unpaid Wages" section, new verbiage has been added to state that "Employers must reimburse employees for all necessary expenditures or losses incurred by an employee during the scope of employment and related to services performed for the employer. Employees must submit reimbursement requests within 30 calendar days unless an employer policy allows for additional time." Under the "Equal Pay Act" section, new language has been added to specify that:

  • Employers and employment agencies are now banned from asking any applicants about their past wage and compensation information.
  • Employees are allowed to divulge or discuss their own salaries, benefits, and/or other compensation amounts with their others at work if they so choose.
  • Employers may not pay lower rates to African American employees compared to non-African American employees. Added a new web address for the Illinois department of labor.

Servicemember Employment and Reemployment - Mandatory - October 2018

The Illinois attorney general's office has released a new Illinois Servicemember Employment and Reemployment Rights Act posting that all employers must display.

Job Discrimination and Sexual Harassment - Mandatory - September 2018

Updated to include information required by Public Act 100-0588. The discrimination notice must include the right to be free from sexual harassment. Materials must also include a phone number for the Illinois Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Helpline, which is on the posting.

Illinois Labor Law Frequently Asked Questions

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