Illinois Wage Law Explained
Do you have a question about Illinois overtime rules and wage laws? Below is an overview of the minimum wage and overtime pay laws that apply to workers in the state of Illinois.
Private actions to enforce Illinois wage and hour laws, and recover unpaid overtime due to workers, are commonly brought (on a contingent fee basis) by employment law firms such as The Lore Law Firm.
If you believe that you have been deprived of the overtime pay that you are legally entitled to, please contact us for a free and confidential review of your situation.
What’s in This Article
a table of contents
Effective January 1, 2020, the Illinois minimum wage will increase to $9.25 per hour and will increase again on July 1, 2020 to $10.00 per hour. On January 1st of each following year, it will increase by $1 per hour until it reaches $15.00 on January 1, 2025. See below:
- 1/1/2025: $15.00 per hour
- 1/1/2024: $14.00 per hour
- 1/1/2023: $13.00 per hour
- 1/1/2022: $12.00 per hour
- 1/1/2021: $11.00 per hour
- 7/1/2020: $10.00 per hour
- 1/1/2020: $9.25 per hour
- 7/1/2010: $8.25 per hour
The prior minimum wage rate was $8.25 per hour as of July 1, 2010.
New Employees: New employees (first 90 days of employment) may be paid up to 50 cents less per hour.
Tipped Employees: Employers may take a credit for tipped employees of up to 40% of wages. Therefore, the minimum hourly wage for tipped employees is $6.60 per hour effective January 1, 2021.
Chicago: Minimum wage rates for Chicago are:
- July 1, 2015 – Non-tipped $10.00 – Tipped $5.45
- July 1, 2016 – Non-tipped $10.50 – Tipped $5.95
- July 1, 2017 – Non-tipped $11.00 – Tipped $6.10
- July 1, 2018 – Non-tipped $12.00 – Tipped $6.25
- July 1, 2019 – Non-tipped $13.00 – Tipped $6.40
- July 1, 2020
- Non-tipped $14.00 for Large Employers (21+ employees) / Tipped $8.40
- Non-tipped $13.50 for Small Employers (3-20 employees) / Tipped $8.10
- July 1, 2021
- Non-tipped $15.00 for Large Employers (21+ employees) / Tipped $9.00
- Non-tipped $14.00 for Small Employers (3-20 employees) / Tipped $8.40
- July 1, 2022 – Non-tipped $14.40 for Small Employers (3-20 employees) – Tipped $8.70
- July 1, 2023 – Non-tipped $15.00 for Small Employers (3-20 employees) – Tipped $9.00
Cook County: On October 26, 2016, Cook County passed an ordinance raising the minimum wage for many employees who work in Cook County. As of July 1, 2017, the minimum wage will be $10/hour. It will increase to $11 as of July 1, 2018, $12 as of July 1, 2019, $13 as of July 1, 2020, and with CPI from July 1, 2021 thereafter. For tipped employees, the minimum wage will increase with CPI starting July 1, 2018. However, some municipalities have opted-out of following this new ordinance so employees should check with their local municipality.
Are You Owed Back Overtime Wages?
According to Illinois overtime law, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay equaling time and one half their regular rate of pay if they work over 40 hours in a workweek.
Specific Exemptions under Illinois Overtime Rules
The following employees are exempt from overtime pay according to the state of Illinois overtime laws (this link provides a summary of the various exemptions from overtime pay that are recognized by Illinois labor law):
- executive, administrative or professional employees as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act
- commissioned employees defined by Section 7(i) of the Fair Labor Standards Act
- certain computer employees (ie. programmers, engineers, systems analysts) who are paid a salary of at least $684/week or at least $27.63 on an hourly basis
- agricultural workers
- salesmen and mechanics involved in selling or servicing cars, trucks or farm implements at dealerships
- certain employees involved in radio/television in a city with a population under 100,000
- employees who exchange hours pursuant to a workplace exchange agreement
- employees of a motor carrier, including truck drivers, loaders and others who have safety related duties, so long as the U.S. Department of Transportation has the authority to set maximum hours of service under federal law or the Illinois Vehicle Code
- employees of the state and its agencies, municipalities and units of local government and school districts
- employees of certain educational or residential child care institutions
The Illinois state wage laws, unlike federal law, do not provide a specific overtime pay exemption for the following types of employees:
- Highly Compensated Employees ($100,000+ per year)
One Day Rest in Seven (ODRISA)
Illinois state law requires that employers give employees at least 24 hours of rest in every calendar week starting Sunday and ending the following Saturday. This rest requirement does not apply to certain types of workers, including: FLSA white collar exempt employees, state and federal government workers, part time employees who work 20 or fewer hours per week, agricultural and mining employees, seasonal employees engaged in agricultural canning, and watchmen and security guards.
There is no private right of action under ODRISA. Claims may be brought by the Department of Labor.
The Illinois Employee Classification Act (ECA) became effective in January of 2008 and applies to all construction work performed in the state. The act specifically targets the unlawful pay practices common in the construction industry by which workers are misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees.
Workers are able to bring a private lawsuit to recover wages, salary, employment benefits and other compensation, as well as liquidated damages in an equal amount (double damages). These claims must be brought within 3 years from the final date of services for the construction contractor.
Holidays / Vacation
Employers are not required to provide holiday or vacation pay.
Meal Periods / Rest Periods
Illinois requires an unpaid meal period of at least 20 minutes must be given to employees who are scheduled to work 7.5 hours or more. The meal period must be given no later than 5 hours after the employee starts work.
The following can be deducted from employees’ checks:
- Deductions required by law, such as taxes
- Deductions that benefit the employee, such as union dues, health insurance premiums, etc.
- Deductions pursuant to wage assignments or wage deduction orders
- Deductions that the employee has given written consent for
Employers are required to furnish employees with an itemized statement of deductions for each pay period.
Employers are required to furnish employees with an itemized statement of deductions for each pay period. Employees of the City of Chicago, METRA, CTA, CHA, Chicago Park District, Chicago Board of Education and Chicago City Colleges may be subject to other deductions.
As of January 1, 2019, Illinois law requires employers to reimburse employees for necessary expenses and losses incurred by employees in the course of their employment. Necessary expenses are defined as all reasonable expenses or losses required of the employee in the discharge of employment duties and that primarily benefit the employer.
An employee should submit expenses within 30 days of incurring the expense unless the employer’s policy provides additional time through a written policy.
Note, the law also states that an employee will not be entitled to reimbursement of expenses if the employee fails to comply with the employer’s written expense reimbursement policy. Click for the full text of the law.
Pay Period / Records
Employers are required to pay employees at least semi-monthly (twice a month). Commissions and executive, administrative and professional employees may be paid once a month. Wages must be paid no later than 13 days after the end of the pay period.
Payment for an employee’s final wages should be made at the time of termination, but no later than the next regularly scheduled payday for the employee. If the employee make a written request that their final pay be mailed to him/her, an employer must honor this request.
Illinois state law allows employees to request their personnel records from their employer 2 times per year and for a period of up to 1 year after separation.
Enforcement of Wage Laws / Penalties
Illinois’ wage payment act allows one or more workers to file a private lawsuit, without first filing a claim with the IDOL. This action may be filed as a class action on behalf of themselves and other “similarly situated” employees and filed in either the county where the violation occurred or where an employee who is party to the case resides.
Employers who fail to properly pay wages can also be liable for an additional penalty equal to 2% of the unpaid wages owed to employees for each month of the underpayment. This is in addition to costs and attorneys’ fees.
If a Sales Representative is not paid commissions timely or not paid timely pursuant to a contract, they may recover up to 3 times the amount owed as punitive/exemplary damages.
Statute of Limitations
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my employer require that I work overtime?
Yes, according to Illinois overtime law, unless working that time prevents you from getting one day of rest during a calendar week as required by the One Day Rest in Seven Act. (See above)
Can my employer pay me ‘comp time’ instead of overtime?
No. Private employers are not allowed to give compensatory time off in place overtime.
Can my pay be lowered?
Yes, as long as your employer advises you of the change prior to you performing work at the lower rate and the rate is no lower than minimum wage.
Is overtime pay required for working holidays or Sundays?
No, the state of Illinois overtime laws are not triggered unless working the holiday or Sunday puts you over 40 hours in the workweek.
Can my employer deduct money from my check for damages or cash shortages?
No, unless you sign a written authorization for this deduction at the time the deduction is made.
Do I have to pay for my uniform?
Your employer cannot deduct the cost of your uniform from your paycheck unless you sign an express written agreement at the time the deduction is made.
When is my last paycheck due?
Final wages must be paid on the next regularly scheduled payday. If the employee makes a written request that their final pay be mailed to him/her, an employer must honor this request.
Can my final paycheck be held until I return my employer’s items such a uniforms, tools, etc.?
Can my employer use fingerprint, eye or face scanner time clocks or access devices?
The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) protects workers who are required to use devices such as biometric time clocks to punch-in / punch-out and record their time worked. While the law does not prohibit employers in Illinois from using such devices, it does require them to follow certain rules and procedures aimed at protecting employees’ sensitive information – including providing information to workers and obtaining a written release from them, before their fingerprints or other biometric data are used. If a company violates BIPA, individuals can recover $1,000 to $5,000 for each violation. For more information, see the key points that workers need to know about the Illinois biometric information privacy law.