Minimum wage continues to rise in states as federal action stalls

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Yahoo Finance 02 July, 2021 - 12:14pm 14 views

What is minimum wage in Illinois?

The minimum wage in Illinois is $11-an-hour and $6.60-an-hour for tipped workers. The minimum wage for workers under-18 in Illinois who work less than 650 hours in a calendar year is $8.50. WLS-TVChicago minimum wage increase to $15-an-hour takes effect; Illinois rate remains $11-an-hour

When does minimum wage go up in Chicago?

The Illinois minimum wage is $11 an hour for non-tipped workers and is expected to gradually increase to $15 an hour by Jan. 1, 2025. The federal minimum wage is still $7.25 an hour. Yahoo FinanceChicago's $15 minimum wage for most workers takes effect

The federal minimum wage sits at $7.25 an hour, a number that has been in place since 2009. (Democrats tried and failed to raise the federal minimum wage as part of stimulus negotiations earlier this year.) In a majority of states, the state minimum wage is now higher than the federal minimum.

"It's been a dozen years since Congress raised the national minimum wage, so the lowest-paid workers in the U.S. economy have seen an 18% pay cut as the cost of living went up over that time period," Ben Zipperer, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, told Yahoo Finance. "Congressional inaction is why places like Delaware, Florida, and more than two dozen other states have increased their minimum wage in the last several years."

Several counties or cities also saw minimum wage hikes go into effect, such as in Chicago and in nine California cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Delaware lawmakers recently passed legislation that would phase in a $15 an hour minimum wage over the course of several years if the state's governor signs the bill. That action follows Virginia, which committed to $15 an hour in May this year.

For one business owner in Delaware, the move toward $15 an hour is a no-brainer.

"We've always paid $15 an hour here at the inn," Kristen Deptula, owner of the Canalside Inn in Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, told Yahoo Finance. She purchased the inn at the end of 2019. 

"It was super important to me," Deptula added. "I'm going to keep the employees longer, they're going to be happier, they're not grinding really hard and working for nothing." All of Deptula's employees are paid the same rate.

With the economic recovery underway, wage increases are likely to be a big focus for workers as they expect pay increases as businesses search for more workers and raise prices in some cases.

Chipotle, for example, raised employee wages to between $11 to $18 an hour in May while also raising menu prices by around 4%. Many other household brands are also planning wage and price increases.

Researchers are still uncertain about the precise impacts of raising the minimum wage as households and businesses recover from the pandemic.

A recent study in the National Bureau of Economic Research looked at the effect of minimum wage increases in Los Angeles County.

The authors found that restaurants in LA dealt with higher labor costs in high-income neighborhoods by increasing prices, and in low-income neighborhoods by changing their product offerings. Some restaurants in the study had to shutter, especially if they were located near competing restaurants that faced a lower statutory minimum wage.

The study "suggests that minimum wage increases are more effective in mitigating income inequality when they are enacted in high-income neighborhoods," Christopher Esposito, one of the authors of the study, told Yahoo Finance. 

"High-income neighborhoods have a wealthy customer base that essentially pays for the higher wages through higher prices," he explained. "Lower-income neighborhoods lack a wealthy customer base, and so restaurants in these areas are forced to adapt in other ways, including by changing their menus [or] product offerings."

Esposito added that while a higher minimum wage didn't reduce employment for restaurants in high-income areas in Los Angeles County, the same can't be said with certainty about low-income neighborhoods.

But for small business owners like Deptula, who said she considers the handful of employees she manages a "part of the family," paying higher wages wasn't so much an economic consideration as a principle. 

"They have to know that we have their back, and we have to lead them to successes," she said.

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Chicago's $15 minimum wage for most workers takes effect

USA TODAY 02 July, 2021 - 10:40pm

Chicago's minimum wage increased to $15 an hour for most workers Thursday, ensuring a raise for an estimated 400,000 people in the city.

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President Biden is pushing to raise the minimum wage to $15. Here's how that would affect the economy. USA TODAY

CHICAGO – Chicago's minimum wage increased to $15 an hour for most workers Thursday. The effort ensures a raise for an estimated 400,000 people in the city, according to officials.

Workers at businesses with 21 or more employees will be guaranteed a minimum wage of $15 an hour. Workers at smaller businesses with 4 to 20 employees will see their minimum wage raised to $14 an hour as part of a gradual move to $15 an hour by 2023, according to Chicago City Mayor Lori Lightfoot's office.

All domestic workers – such as housekeepers, nannies, caregivers and more – will receive a minimum wage of $15 an hour beginning on Aug. 1.

For tipped workers, the minimum wage rises to $8.40 or $9, depending on the size of the employer, but employers must make up the difference if workers do not make the minimum wage with tips.

"Our dedicated workforce deserves to be protected and treated with dignity and respect – especially after the devastating socioeconomic fallout caused by the pandemic," Lightfoot said in a statement.

"Chicago, however, isn't the only city with workers who have gone far too long without proper protections, so it is my hope and expectation that our members of Congress and national corporate partners join our city and work to implement a federal living wage to give workers all around the country the opportunity to lead financially stable lives," Lightfoot added.

The Illinois minimum wage is $11 an hour for non-tipped workers and is expected to gradually increase to $15 an hour by Jan. 1, 2025.

The federal minimum wage is still $7.25 an hour.

© 2021 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC.

Minimum wage for fast food workers increases to 15 dollars in WNY

WKBW TV | Buffalo, NY 02 July, 2021 - 10:40pm

Chicago $15 minimum wage goes into effect Thursday

WGN News 02 July, 2021 - 10:40pm

Chicago's minimum wage is now $15 per hour. Here's what to know.

Chicago Tribune 02 July, 2021 - 10:40pm

Chicago’s minimum wage is now at $15 per hour, four years before the state is set to reach that bench mark.

Groups like Fight for $15 have been lobbying for those increases for years, and a handful of large retailers have already boosted wages to that level or higher. Some announced raises for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Others have boosted pay more recently as they’ve struggled to attract new hires.

Still, the city estimates more than 400,000 people will get a raise due to the minimum wage increase.

“This is a happy day,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at the Painters District Council 14 headquarters Thursday, calling Chicago’s minimum wage increase “one of the most critical pieces of legislation to be introduced during my administration.”

Patricia Evans, a home care worker with Help at Homes, said she earned $9.10 when she started at the company about eight years ago, and was making a little more than $14 per hour until Chicago’s minimum wage increase took effect Thursday.

“People who are impacted need to speak up and explain the wage they’re getting isn’t livable and it isn’t just,” said Evans, 68, of Stony Island Park, who said she has lobbied for minimum wage increases as a member of her union, SEIU Healthcare.

Here’s what you need to know about the changes.

Employers with at least 21 employees must pay $15 per hour as of Thursday. Smaller companies’ minimum wage is $14 per hour. Domestic workers, including people providing home health, child care or cleaning services, will see their pay increase to $15 per hour starting Aug. 1.

For workers earning tips, the minimum wage goes up to $9 or $8.40, depending on the employer’s size. Employers have to make up the difference if their tips don’t get employees to $15 per hour.

For large employers, this is the last annual $1 per hour raise in Chicago under a plan approved by the city in 2019. Future minimum wage increases will be based on the rate of inflation.

Smaller employers will see the minimum wage increase $0.50 per year until it reaches $15 per hour in 2023.

Cook County’s minimum wage for employees who don’t earn tips will remain at $13 per hour because its unemployment rate was at or above 8.5% last year. When unemployment hits that level, the county’s rate will only increase if it falls below state and federal minimums.

The county did increase its minimum wage this year for tipped workers to match the state’s wage.

Illinois’ minimum wage increased to $11 per hour, or $6.60 for tipped workers, in January. The state’s minimum wage is set to increase by $1 per year until it reaches $15 per hour in 2025.

More than 400,000 people will see their pay increase with Chicago’s jump to $15 per hour, according to a news release from the city.

Some big employers have already adopted a $15 per hour minimum wage nationwide, including Target and Best Buy, which announced the increases last year. Costco raised its minimum wage to $16 per hour earlier this year and Amazon, which raised starting wages to $15 per hour in 2018, said its open roles now average at least $16 per hour, plus sign-on bonuses of up to $1,000.

McDonald’s said it would increase wages at company-owned restaurants by an average of 10% in May, as the company looks to hire about 10,000 employees over the next three months. That brings entry-level wages to $11 to $17 per hour and starting wages for shift managers to $15 to $20 per hour depending on the restaurant’s location, the company said.

The company did not say whether employees in Chicago typically earned $15 per hour before the minimum wage increase.

The federal minimum wage, $7.25 per hour, hasn’t changed since 2009.

A bill that would have raised the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025 was introduced in Congress in January and Democrats pushed to include a federal minimum wage increase in the COVID-19 stimulus package earlier this year, but the measure did not make it into the final bill.

Copyright © 2021, Chicago Tribune

Local restaurants increase the minimum wage for employees

13 ON YOUR SIDE 02 July, 2021 - 10:40pm

These cities and states just raised their minimum wage

The Hill 02 July, 2021 - 12:29pm

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NY minimum wage for fast food workers raised to $15 per hour

Spectrum News 01 July, 2021 - 07:55pm

Starting on July 1, fast food workers will receive a boost in their paychecks across upstate New York.

Upstate fast food workers will now make be making $15 an hour, up from $14.50.

Over the past five years, the state has been gradually raising the minimum wage in a phased approach.

Fast food workers in New York City have already been making $15 an hour since December 31, 2018.

“It's hard work,” Saru Jayaraman, co-founder of One Fair Wage, explained. “It's skilled jobs. We rely on these workers, as we found out during the pandemic. We called them ‘essential.’ They have been the ones that have allowed us to continue to enjoy eating out, or to get meals delivered.”

However, Senator George Borrello says that raising the fast food minimum wage places an unfair burden on small businesses already competing to find employees to return to work.

Borrello says many fast food joints are also now switching to automation and technology.

“It's a one-size-fits-all plan essentially for the entire state now that you're talking about having parity with New York City,” Senator Borrello said. “And you look at the cost of living in places like my district, very rural versus New York City, and thinking that the same minimum wage should apply for all ages is just irresponsible.”

According to Greg Biryla with the National Federation of Independent Business, 39% of small businesses owners right now are increasing their compensation to try and fill jobs.

But many still can’t find employees.

“Forty percent of small business owners right now have jobs that they cannot fill,” Biryla said. “That is a record number and the NFIB has been keeping this statistic since the 1970s. So now businesses are able to be open again in New York state. And the ones that we talked about couldn't be more excited again to continue their chase the American Dream, put people back to work, grow their communities, support their local neighborhoods, and now we have new challenges that they're confronting and it's finding qualified workers.”

Jayaraman said One Fair Wage is working with Congress to help pass legislation that will raise the national minimum wage to $15 an hour.

McDonald’s workers celebrate city’s new $15 minimum hourly wage

Chicago Sun-Times 01 July, 2021 - 06:33pm

“Today is the day that fast-food workers like me have fought for with a lot of hard work, sweat, and tears,” McDonald’s employee Adriana Alvarez said at a rally outside the company’s West Loop headquarters on Thursday.

McDonald’s has long been a focus of the “Fight for $15” movement, which pushed for a $15 minimum hourly wage. Cashiers, cooks and other employees who showed up Thursday held aloft two large red numerals — a “1” and a “5.”

“Today is the day that fast-food workers like me have fought for with a lot of hard work, sweat, and tears,” said McDonald’s employee Adriana Alvarez. “When we first announced our demands for a $15 minimum wage, we were told we were crazy. But we knew and still know that we were worth more than $7.85.”

Teresa Cervantes, who has worked for McDonald’s for 20 years, said a $15 wage is needed just to cover rent, food, and her medical bills.

But the workers want McDonald’s to do more.

“While we celebrate today, we know that our fight isn’t over and it has just begun,” Alvarez said.

“We are here at McDonald’s headquarters to say to this company that you can do more by following Chicago’s lead and paying everyone everywhere at least $15 an hour,” Alvarez added. “McDonald’s made nearly five billion dollars in profit last year during a pandemic.”

Speaking at a nearby union hall, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also acknowledged that while the $15 minimum wage is important, it is not nearly enough.

“We need to make sure that we are continuing the fight for workers so that they have a living wage, so that they can have savings, so that they have homeownership and so that they can pass wealth down to their children,” Lightfoot said.

McDonald’s has committed to raising the minimum wage at corporate-owned McDonald’s stores to an average of $15 — but corporate-owned sites make up only about 5% of McDonald’s nationwide.

McDonald’s issued a statement Thursday saying the responsibility for changing the minimum wage lies with elected officials and that the company is open to wage discussions with their employees.

The protesting workers also want McDonald’s employees to unionize, something which became incredibly important during the pandemic when they felt their jobs were in jeopardy, Alvarez said.

During the pandemic, Alvarez did see an increase in her wage, but her hours were cut significantly, nullifying the change. In order to gain respect and job security, a union is needed, she said.

Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) also spoke at the rally to support workers’ efforts to form a union.

“The fight is not over,” Sigcho-Lopez said. “These workers need to be respected.”

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