Illinois law gives you the right to recover your owed wages for several years (usually 3 years) prior to the date that you file a lawsuit or a claim with the Illinois Department of Labor to recover them.
For example, if you filed a minimum wage lawsuit on January 1, 2018, you could only recover your owed minimum wage from January 1, 2013, to the present. Even if you are owed minimum wage from 2011 and 2012, in this example, you can still only recover wages from January 1, 2013, and forward.
The Illinois minimum wage rates from 2007 to 2010 were:
- July 1, 2007 - June 30, 2008: $7.50 per hour
- July 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009: $7.75 per hour
- July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010: $8.00 per hour
- July 1, 2010 - Present: $8.25 per hour
Under Federal law, you have the right to recover your owed minimum wages for two years prior to the date you file a lawsuit, with the possibility of 3 years if your employer was purposely violating the law.
The federal minimum wage rates since 1997:
- Sept 1, 1997 - July 23, 2007: $5.15 per hour
- July 24, 2007 - July 23, 2008: $5.85 per hour
- July 24, 2008 - July 23, 2009: $6.55 per hour
- July 24, 2009 - Present: $7.25 per hour
Can I receive interest or penalties in addition to the wages I am owed?
Yes. Under Illinois law, in addition to your unpaid wages, you may in some situations receive an additional 2% of the underpaid wages for each month the payment was not made. Under federal law, you can receive up to double of what you are owed based on the federal minimum wage.