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New minimum wages in effect July 1 for Chicago, Cook County

Minimum wages for Chicago and Cook County are increasing July 1. Inflation has rapidly outpaced wage growth, cutting the average Illinoisan’s pay by $2,200.

Chicago’s current minimum wage is $15 an hour for businesses with 21 or more employees and $14 for businesses with four to 20 employees. Both are increasing July 1 to $15.40 and $14.50, respectively.

Minimum wages for tipped employees such as restaurant servers will increase to $9.24, and $8.70 for small businesses.

Workers under 18 will see a $12 minimum wage for non-tipped jobs, and $7.20 for tipped.

Cook County’s minimum wage will rise from $13 to $13.35 for non-tipped workers, and $6.60 to $7.40 for tipped.

In addition to the minimum wage increases July 1, Chicago businesses in health care, food service, retail and warehouses must release work schedules 14 days in advance instead of 10 because of a change in city rules.

Across the state, inflation has far exceeded wage growth. Rising costs of goods and services has cut Illinoisans’ pay by $2,230 on average.

Thanks to inflation, the average Illinois worker will shell out $1,122 more for the same amount of gasoline, $910 more for housing, $504 more for groceries, and $280 more for utilities this year.

With economists forecasting prolonged inflation, it’s likely the Federal Reserve will keep hiking interest rates. For Illinoisans, this presents an unpleasant tradeoff: continued high inflation or an increase in unemployment because of rising interest rates.

Neither scenario will be friendly for Illinoisans, however they appear unavoidable as record spending and wide-spread federal stimulus coupled with supply chain disruptions and pent-up demand from COVID-19 have created our current inflationary environment.

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