The minimum wage is the lowest hourly rate employers are allowed to pay their employees. If you earn less than minimum wage, you may be entitled to recover the difference that is owed to you. There are federal, state, and local laws about minimum wage.
Minimum wage laws
- Since July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
- For more information, see this page about federal minimum wage laws.
- Since July 1, 2010, the Illinois minimum wage is $8.25 per hour for workers 18 years of age and older.
- The minimum wage for workers under 18 years of age is $7.75.
- Tipped employees must be paid minimum wage, but employers may take up to 40% credit for tips out of the employee’s wages.
- Employers may apply for licenses to pay less than minimum wage to certain workers with disabilities.
- Employers must pay overtime if an employee works more than 40 hours in a week. The rate for overtime payment is time and a half of the employee's regular payment rate.
- For more information, see the Illinois Department of Labor's page on the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, as well as their Frequently Asked Questions page.
- Effective July 1, 2017, the minimum wage for many employees in Cook County is $10 per hour. However, towns in Cook County can opt out of the increase, and many of them have.
- If you live in Cook County, check with your town to see if your town has opted out of the minimum wage increase.
- For more information, see the Cook County Minimum Wage Ordinance.
- Effective July 1, 2017, the minimum wage for most employees working in the City of Chicago is $12 per hour.
- For more information, see the City of Chicago's page on the Minimum Wage Ordinance.
Can I be fired for asking about the minimum wage?
No. It is illegal for your employer to fire or retaliate against you in any way for asking about minimum wages.
If you feel you have been retaliated against for asking or complaining about wages, you should contact the Illinois Department of Labor or the US Department of Labor, or speak with a lawyer.
If you feel the issue might be because of illegal discrimination, you should contact the Illinois Department of Human Rights or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or speak with a lawyer.
Updated: June 2017