- As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, only three new laws take effect this year that affect Illinois businesses.
- The statewide minimum wage increased.
- The minimum wage in Chicago will increase this summer.
- Chicago has also extended some licensing and permitting deadlines.
New Laws for Businesses in 2021
Normally a new year brings a bevy of new laws. Last year’s legislative slate of over 50 laws included mandatory sexual harassment training, new protections for employees, an increase in the minimum wage, legalized cannabis, and more.
This year there are three.
While the scant handful of legal updates serves as a sobering reminder of the havoc wrought by the pandemic, it means that our business clients have fewer things to keep track of. Headspace is in short supply these days.
So, here’s what business owners need to know about laws taking effect in Illinois and Chicago this year.
The Minimum Wage Increases
There are actually two separate minimum wage increases happening this year: one statewide, and a larger increase for the City of Chicago.
Illinois’s Minimum Wage
Starting on January 1st, the state’s standard minimum wage rose to $11/hour. It’s a little bit lower for a couple of special categories: the minimum wage is $6.60/hour for tipped workers, and $8.50/hour for youths working less than 650 hours per year. This is the third of seven scheduled increases detailed in Public Act 101-0001, with the minimum wage rising to $15/hour by 2025. The Illinois Department of Labor provides a handy summary if you don’t feel like reading the whole act.
Chicago’s Minimum Wage
The Windy City also has a minimum wage increase on the horizon. Chicago’s wage structure is a little more complex, with different requirements for employers of different sizes. These increases take effect on July 1st, 2021.
Standard Minimum Wage:
- Tiny (Fewer than 4 workers): $11.00/hour (Chicago’s rules don’t address employers of this size, so we assume that Illinois’s new minimum applies)
- Small (4 – 20 workers): $14.00/hour
- Large (21 or more workers): $15.00/hour
- Youth workers (younger than 18): $11.00/hour
Minimum Wage for Tipped Employees:
Employers of workers who receive gratuities must pay their employees no less than 60% of the standard minimum wage. After the wage increases on July 1st, this will amount to:
- Tiny (Fewer than 4 workers): $6.60/hour (Chicago’s rules don’t address employers of this size, so we assume that Illinois’s new minimum applies)
- Small (4 – 20 workers): $8.40/hour
- Large (21 or more workers): $9.00/hour
- Youth workers (younger than 18): $6.60/hour
COVID-19 Relief Extended
Finally, the City of Chicago will continue some of the relief efforts implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic. A January 4th press release from the mayor’s office describes the measures.
The first measure extends the expiration date for certain business and vehicle licenses. Per the press release:
“Business Licenses and Public Passenger Chauffeur and Vehicle Licenses with an expiration date between March 15, 2020 and June 15, 2021 will be considered active until July 15, 2021. Licensees will have until July 15, 2021 to renew without paying a late fee.”
The second measure affects sidewalk cafes, which can now “continue to operate until May 1, 2021 without needing to renew or pay a renewal fee.”
Even though there are only three updates, these changes still need implementation. If you have questions about what it means for your business, reach out to get your complimentary consultation. We have answers.