Naperville Business Lawyer On Chicago’s Rising Minimum Wage

minimum wage, Naperville business law attorneyOver the last several years, all around the country, fast-food workers and other hourly employees have been attempting to raise public awareness regarding the perceived need to raise the minimum wage. While the debate over minimum wage is often intertwined with politics—as in, Candidate A promises to raise the minimum wage while Candidate B does not—the discussion, at its core, is a financial one. A full-time employee currently making minimum wage, just about anywhere in the country, can barely afford to get by, let alone support a family.

With city governments often able to make such decisions faster and more easily than state legislatures, several large cities—including Chicago—have started raising the minimum wage for workers within the city limits. As business law attorney, I realize that increasing the minimum wage is a complex endeavor and one that can particular effect an already struggling enterprise.

On the Way to $13 an Hour

In 2014, Chicago city officials announced that they would raise the minimum wage within the city incrementally over the next few years. The first jump went from $8.25 an hour to $10 an hour last summer. July 1 of this year saw another 50 cents added, bringing Chicago’s current minimum wage to $10.50 an hour. Increases will continue for at least the next three years as, by July 1, 2019, every non-tipped hourly worker will make at least $13 an hour.

Impact to Small Business

Small companies throughout Chicago are beginning to feel the pressure of paying more in labor costs. Some have been forced to raise prices on their products by as much as 15 percent. To some, the extra expenses are worth it, as improving the standard of living for employees is an important element to growing a business. Others, however, are not seeing a return on their labor investment. Despite higher pay, these owners report little change in employee satisfaction or retention. “Their thinking is that it’s still a minimum wage job,” said one Wicker Park café owner, who says she now has less extra money to reward top workers.

Unemployment Concerns

Economic experts predict that a rising minimum wage may have a number of intended effects over time. One of the most concerning is that cities and states could see a substantial increase in unemployment among younger people. Minimum wage jobs have traditionally been an entry point into the workforce for young men and women, but higher pay could mean older, more experienced workers fighting for those same jobs. In some cases, employers may be forced to eliminate jobs, either consolidating them or finding new ways to get the work done, such as the automated ordering kiosks being considered by McDonald’s and other restaurant chains. Young people are projected to be affected the most by such changes.

Prepare Your Company

Regardless of what you believe about the rising minimum wage, you must be sure to protect your business by always remaining in full compliance with the law. Contact an experienced Naperville business law attorney to develop a compensation structure for your company, along with a workable financial plan. Call The Gierach Law Firm today at 630-756-1160 to get started.



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