What Is the Minimum Wage in Illinois?

Madison Baker
The Cloud Gate sculpture at Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois
Reading Time: 5 minutes

In the state of Illinois, the minimum wage is currently $9.25 per hour. However, it’s not quite that simple. Different hourly employees can be paid different rates, and sometimes it’s less than the statewide minimum wage. The situation can get even more convoluted when looking at the differences between this rate, the minimum wage set by other states and the federal government, and the rate set by certain municipalities within the state of Illinois. 

2020 Minimum Wage in Illinois: $9.25 per hour

As of January 1, 2020, the minimum wage in the state of Illinois is $9.25 per hour. This is a full two dollars higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. The minimum wage is tied to the Consumer Price Index, with the purpose of raising the rate along with inflation.

This rate only applies to hourly employees in Illinois, not salaried ones. Even then, not all hourly employees have a right to this rate. Some employees are exempt, including workers under the age of 18, tipped employees, and students.

Under 18: $8.00 per hour

Workers under the age of 18 can be paid a slightly lower minimum wage: $8 per hour. Though this is $1.25 lower than the standard Illinois rate, it’s still $0.75 higher than the federal minimum wage. Once the employee is 18 or older, they must be paid the standard, adult minimum wage of $9.25. 

Tipped Employees: $5.55 per hour

The U.S. Department of Labor defines a tipped employee

as a worker who “engages in an occupation in which he or she customarily and regularly receives more than $30 per month in tips.” Though it isn’t always clear when tips are expected (or how much should be given), some common tipped positions include waiters and waitresses, bartenders, valets, bellhops, drivers, hairdressers, and tattoo artists.

In Illinois, tipped employees must be paid at least $5.55 per hour, as employers can take a 40% “tip credit” for each hour worked. However, if the employee does not earn at least that 40% in tips during their shift, their employers are obligated to make up the difference so they receive $9.25 per hour. 

Tipped employees who are in their first 90 days of employment or under the age of 18 can be paid $5.05 per hour, and employers can still take a 40% tip credit. If they don’t earn back that tip credit, though, they are entitled to the full minimum wage for these two groups, which is $8.75 per hour. Once the employee is over the age of 18 or has been employed for longer than 90 days, they are to be paid the standard minimum wage.

Students: $7.86 per hour

The Fair Labor Standards Act

(FLSA) dictates that full-time high school and college students can be paid 85% of the standard minimum wage. In Illinois, that amounts to $7.86 per hour. This rate is only applicable to students in certain positions, such as a university work-study program, and only for up to 20 hours of work per week. 

Weekly: $370.00 per week

The standard workweek is 40 hours long and is typically divided into five eight-hour days. Assuming an employee in Illinois works for a full 40 hours, they can expect to make $370 in a week. This amount does not include withholdings or tax deductions, so actual take-home pay may vary. Often, it’s less than $370.

Annually: $19,240.00 per year

There are 52 weeks in a year, so assuming an employee works for a full 40 hours each week, they can expect to earn $19,240. Again, this does not account for any withholdings, tax deductions, holiday pay, or time off, so the actual take-home pay may be different. 

Overtime: $13.88 per hour

Employers in the state of Illinois are legally required to offer at least 1.5 times a worker’s hourly rate when they work overtime. For employees who make minimum wage, that amounts to $13.88 per hour. In Illinois, there is no daily threshold for overtime; it can only take effect after an employee has worked more than 40 hours in a single workweek. 

In order to stay in accordance with the One Day Rest In Seven Act, though, employers must provide at least 24 full hours off to their employees each week. Employers can get the proper documentation to work their employees on that seventh day, but they still cannot require them to come into work. Employees must choose to do so.

Further, the state of Illinois does not require employers to give holiday pay to their employees. They are only legally obligated to pay 1.5 times the standard wage if working on said holiday puts the employee over 40 hours for that week.

Chicago: $13.00 per hour

The city of Chicago has set its own minimum wage for hourly employees: $13 per hour, which is $3.75 higher than the statewide minimum wage and $5.75 higher than the federal rate. With this rate, workers can earn $520 weekly and $27,040 annually (again, not including any variations, deductions, or withholdings). 

Employees will earn $19.50 per hour when working overtime. Tipped employees earn $6.40 per hour, though this is subject to change based on inflation rates. If they do not earn enough in tips, employers must pay tipped employees the difference to equal a rate of $13 per hour.

Cook County: $12.00 per hour

In addition to Chicago, Cook County, Illinois has set a different minimum wage: $12 per hour. This is $2.75 higher than the statewide minimum wage and $4.75 higher than the federal rate. At this rate, employees can earn $480 per week and $24,960 per year (not accounting for deductions, withholdings, or schedule changes). Employees earn $18 when working overtime. Tipped employees are paid $5.25 per hour, but will receive $12 per hour if they do not earn enough tips in a given shift.

Illinois Minimum Wage Increase News

Like many other states — including Colorado, New York, and Washington state — Illinois has plans to increase its statewide minimum wage over the next few years. 

820 ILCS 105: Minimum Wage Law

In February of 2019, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law that will raise the statewide minimum wage to $15 per hour by the year 2025. Called the Minimum Wage Law, this legislation is set to increase the minimum wage to $10 in July 2020. Starting in January 2021, there will be an increase of a dollar per hour each year until the minimum wage reaches $15 in 2025. This law will also increase the minimum wage for employees under the age of 18 to $13 per hour in 2025.


Starting in July of 2020, the minimum wage in Chicago will be increased to reflect inflation, though it cannot raise by more than 2.5% in a single year. Further, the minimum wage won’t increase if the unemployment rate in Chicago reaches 8.5% or higher.

The city of Chicago intends to set a minimum wage of $15 by 2021. The next increase (to $14) is scheduled for July 1, 2020. 

Cook County

The minimum wage in Cook County is set to increase to $13 per hour in July 2020. After that, the inflation rate will determine the minimum wage. Similar to Chicago, the minimum wage will not increase if the unemployment rate in Cook County reaches 8.5% or higher.

Both the city of Chicago and Cook County will have to defer to the new statewide Minimum Wage Law once the state rates are higher than the local ones. This will help ensure all people in Illinois can earn a living wage.

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