Yesterday we told you about several states in which efforts are underway to raise the minimum wage. Today’s update comes from Illinois, where the Senate Executive Committee will vote next week on a bill that would give minimum wage workers a substantial boost in pay. Nearly six in ten minimum wage workers in Illinois are women.
The Illinois bill (S.B. 1565) would gradually raise the minimum wage from its current level of $8.25 per hour to its estimated historic high, which would be $10.65 per hour, and then index the minimum wage to keep pace with inflation. S.B. 1565 also would eliminate the tipped minimum cash wage of $4.95 per hour, making tipped employees – mostly women – entitled to the same minimum wage as other workers.
Increasing the minimum wage to $10.65 per hour, an estimate of its historic high, would increase a worker’s annual earnings by $4,800 per year – enough to lift a mom with two kids out of poverty. Tipped minimum wage workers will see an even bigger increase of $11,400 per year if the bill becomes law. Since the majority of workers who would get a raise are women, S.B. 1565 could also help narrow the gender wage gap in Illinois; in 2011, the typical Illinois woman working full time was paid just 76 cents for every dollar paid to her male counterpart.
And as an added benefit, the Economic Policy Institute estimates that raising the minimum wage in Illinois to $10.65 per hour over four years would generate about $2.5 billion in additional economic activity and around 20,000 new jobs in the state. That sounds like a win-win to me!
Next week’s Senate Executive Committee vote is a critical step for S.B. 1565 to become law. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Kimberly Lightford, says that there are enough votes for the bill to pass out of the committee. We hope that she’s right and that committee members allow this important piece of legislation move forward. Be sure to check back here next week for the latest news on Illinois and throughout the next few weeks for updates on minimum wage efforts in other states.
P.S. And in case you missed it, be sure to check out our new minimum wage infographic. It makes clear why proposals like the one pending in Illinois are so critical!