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Here’s A Look At New Laws Going Into Effect Today For Chicagoans

Several new Illinois laws take effect July 1, impacting minimum wages, public school curriculum and work conditions.

The James R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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DOWNTOWN — Several new Illinois laws take effect July 1, impacting minimum wages, the curriculum taught in public schools and employment.

Here’s what you need to know:

Minimum Wage Hike

Thanks to the wage increase signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker last year, the hourly minimum wage across the state rose Wednesday in an attempt to bring the statewide rate to $15 by 2025.

The statewide minimum wage rose to $10 from $9.25 and Cook County’s rate increased to $13.

In Chicago, the minimum wage increased to $13.50 for small businesses with fewer than 21 workers, and to $14 for larger employers.

Tipped workers in Chicago will receive a minimum wage of $8.10 in businesses employing between four and 20 workers, and $8.40 in businesses with more than 21 workers. Employers are expected to make up the difference if tips and this new wage do not meet the full minimum wage.

This wage increase in Chicago comes as small businesses are struggling to pay the bills due to the economic impacts of the pandemic. Workers across the city, especially those employed part-time, have argued they need more than the minimum wage to take care of their families, especially with cutbacks during the pandemic.

The minimum wage in Chicago will rise to $15 a hour for most employers by 2021 and by 2023 for smaller companies.

Workers’ Rights

Chicago employers with more than 100 total workers are now required to provide a work schedule in advance to their employees and pay workers if they make last-minute changes to their schedule, as enacted in the Chicago Fair Workweek Ordinance.

Workers can also decline work hours not previously scheduled and any hours that begin within 10 hours of the end of their previous day’s shift.

All Illinois employers must abide by the Illinois Human Rights Act, forbidding discrimination based on race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion and age.

Public Education Curriculum

Illinois public schools must now teach students about LGBTQ history and civics.

Pritzker signed the Inclusive Curriculum Law last August, which requires schools to teach students about the contributions made to state and U.S. history by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people by the time they complete eighth grade.

Students will also need to take one semester of civics education discussing current issues and the democratic process in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade.

Changes for Drivers

Illinois drivers will also see an increase in gas taxes from 38 cents to 38.7 cents per gallon. It is part of the first annual increase to finance road improvements.

Residents can also expect stricter penalties — including a minimum $1,000 fine — for people who are found using their phones or other devices while driving.

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