For the first time in many years, the hard working people of Chicago are finally going to get a break due to an approved state minimum wage increase – making this the nation’s third largest big city to do so in the last few months. As part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s effort to make Chicago one of the best places to live and work in the USA, the City Council approved a wage hike that will increase Chicago’s minimum wages to $13 per hour by the year 2019.
When the Minimum Wage Will Increase in Chicago
The plan in place currently is to raise the current Illinois minimum wage of $8.25 per hour (which is actually $1 above the national minimum wage) over a series of increments. This is much like other states that are slowly raising their own minimum wages over a period of years. Starting with July of 2015, Chicago’s workers will be earning $10 per hour, and then over the next three years, it will go up by 50 cents to $1 to $13 by January of 2019. This is a 58 percent increase in wages.
Will the Minimum Wage Hike Help Chicago?
In terms of where Chicago now stands, it is the latest big city to rule in favor of higher wages for those who live at or just above the poverty line. Earlier in 2015, cities like Seattle and San Francisco also voted in favor of raising the minimum wages for their regions. Additionally, Portland and Louisville are taking strides towards bumping up the minimum wage so that people have a chance to earn real life wages and improve the economy in the process.
The raise in minimum wages in Chicago is estimated to improve the lives of well over 400,000 working people who currently earn the current minimum wage. While there are some who say this will put an added burden on businesses in Chicago that are already feeling the effects of the Affordable Care Act requirements, most say that a raise in pay for minimum wage workers is long overdue.
What Workers in Chicago Can Expect
For workers who are earning minimum wages now, especially those in manufacturing, retail and hospitality jobs; the minimum wage increase could not come at a better time. Workers can expect to start seeing employment notices going up about the minimum wage increase, along with dates when this will occur.
By early 2016, salaries will be going up with the first incremental raise and this will require employers to also raise rates for other hourly paid jobs. Some may find themselves looking for work as companies reduce their workforce to maintain labor costs, but there will be plenty of temporary jobs available in Chicago that pay at or above the minimum wage.