Chicago Wage Ordinance – Employees May Recover 3x their Unpaid Wages

The Chicago Minimum Wage Ordinance was adopted at the end of 2014 to much fan fare because it raises the minimum wage requirements for all employees within the City of Chicago.

The current rate schedule for minimum wage in Chicago is as follows:

Effective Date Non-Tipped Employees Tipped Employees
July 1, 2015 $10.00 $4.95
July 1, 2016 $10.50 $5.45
July 1, 2017 $11.00 $5.95
July 1, 2018 $12.00 Increases with CPI*
July 1, 2019 $13.00 Increases with CPI*
July 1, 2020 Increases with CPI* Increases with CPI*

*The ordinance provides that the minimum wage will not increase when the unemployment rate in Chicago for the preceding year, as calculated by the Illinois Department of Employment Security, was equal to or greater than 8.5 percent. The ordinance also provides that if the CPI increases by more than 2.5 percent in any year, the minimum wage increase shall be capped at 2.5 percent.

The ordinance also mandates that all employers who are subject to its requirements must also compensate its employees consistent with the overtime provisions of  Illinois Minimum Wage Law (time and half for all hours worked). As a result, not only can the Chicago Minimum Wage Ordinance be used to recover minimum wage violations it can also be a vehicle to recover unpaid overtime.

The Chicago Minimum Wage Ordinance is unusual because it provides that an employee may recover “three times the amount of any such underpayment.” Compare this with Federal Law that provides for up to double damages and the State Law that provides for a 2% penalty per month of non-payment. As a result, the Chicago Ordinance significantly increases the penalty for non-payment.

If you have questions or need help with your wage and hour concerns, contact the experienced attorneys at Maduff & Maduff today.