At the June 1, regular meeting, the Schiller Park Board of Trustees will vote on an ordinance that would effectively exempt private employers in the village from ordinances passed last October by the Cook County Board of Commissioners that would increase the minimum wage and establish earned sick leave for employees.
I raised this issue in February, 2017, in my article at https://royfmc.com/2017/02/09/should-leyden-and-norwood-park-township-villages-opt-out-of-cook-county-minimum-wage-ordinance/ , when I encouraged the Village Board of Schiller Park to opt out of the Cook County ordinance.
Under the county’s minimum wage law, private employers would be required to pay employees $10 an hour starting July 1, 2017. The current minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 an hour.
The minimum wage in Cook County would then increase by $1 each year through 2020. On July 1, 2021 and each July afterwards, the minimum wage will increase by the rate of inflation up to 2.5 percent. If unemployment is over 8.5 percent, however, there will be no increase.
As I noted in my earlier article that the county’s minimum wage ordinance creates an “uneven playing field for employers and employees inside and outside of Cook County.”
Many home rule municipalities have opted-out of the county’s minimum wage law, creating an uneven patchwork of wage levels across the county. In addition, the wage law also creates an uneven playing field between counties.
The communities that are opting out want the state to address this in order to create an even playing field.
When a community opts out, it creates an uneven playing field not only for employers but for employees. You can have people in neighboring communities working the same job and getting different wages. That’s in Cook County. If you’re next to, say, DuPage County, you can have a scenario with three different sets of rules.
Cook County took a step forward and raised the bar and I applaud them for that, but they’ve created now a patchwork of communities opting out, which those communities have a constitutional right to do.
So far at least 13 other villages in Cook County have opted out, including Bellwood (which opted out in March), River Forest, Rosemont, Rolling Meadows, Palatine, and Elmwood Park. The county’s minimum wage law doesn’t apply to public employers like municipalities.
Currently, Springfield is working on a proposed minimum wage law, called HB 198, which would raise the minimum wage for both private and public employers across the state from its current level to $9 on January 1, 2018. The minimum wage would then increase to $10, $11.25, $13 and $15 each subsequent year until 2022.
If House Bill 198 is enacted, it would provide a uniform minimum wage applicable to all Illinois employers and employees, as opposed to the Cook County Ordinance, which only applies to private employers within Cook County, and not public employers, like the Village.