On 19 February 2019, Governor of Illinois JB Pritzker signed legislation to increase the state’s minimum wage from $8.25 (£6.31) an hour to $15 (£11.48) an hour by 2025.
The SB 1 minimum wage legislation is set to benefit 1.4 million employees.
Illinois last increased its minimum wage nine years ago, and is the first US state in the Midwest and the fifth state nationally to commit to deliver a $15 an hour minimum wage.
Pritzker has further confirmed that small businesses and not-for-profit organisations will be supported with this pay increase via a state tax credit.
He said: “[This] is a great day for Illinois’ working families, and it has been a long time coming. It’s been nine long years since [employees] got a raise. And even nine years ago, the raise amounted to 25 cents an hour.
“Businesses large and small, from local restaurants to Amazon, made it clear that hardworking employees should be fairly compensated. Even when we didn’t agree on everything, they were willing to be part of the negotiations to make the minimum wage work in our communities.
“This is a monumental day for our state, a day that redefines what it means to live and work in Illinois. We are making it clear that if [employees] work hard in this state, [they] deserve to be able to afford the goods and services [they] produce. We are saying that the right to a fair wage does not end at Chicago’s border.
“We boldly declare that Illinois is a state that welcomes working families, setting a high standard for [employees’] rights, economic opportunity and economic justice.”
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, senior chief deputy whip, added: “For the last 40 years, American [employees] have not gotten their fair share of economic growth, despite increasing productivity.
“Raising the minimum wage is one part of Democrats’ commitment to get [employees] and middle-class families a long overdue raise. Illinois is leading the way, and I look forward to Congress [doing] its job and [raising] the minimum wage to a uniform amount across all 50 states.
“I applaud my friend, Governor Pritzker, and state legislators in Springfield, for their efforts to give working families in Illinois a much-deserved raise.”