Employees living in Chicago and across Illinois are usually entitled to a minimum wage for all hours worked. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Illinois law both require employers to pay employees a minimum rate. In Illinois, both the federal and state government sets a minimum rate for which employees must be paid. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25, and the current Illinois minimum wage is $8.25. In cases where there is a different state and federal minimum wage, the employer must the higher of the two. Thus, employers in Illinois must pay employees at a rate of $8.25 for all work performed for the company’s benefit. Any contract or agreement in Illinois where an employee accepts a lower minimum wage than $8.25 is null and void. See Lewis v. Giordano’s Enterprises, Inc., 397 Ill. App. 3d 581 (2009).

Minimum Wage Calculation

To determine your effective pay rate, simply add up to the total number of hours worked in the week, and divide that by the total compensation for the week. The total number of hours worked in a given week should include all hours worked for the benefit of the employer. Sometimes companies wrongly omit time worked that should be included in the calculation. For example, often-times employers do not compensate employees for on-call time when required. Employers are required to pay employees for on-call time when the time is spent predominantly for the employer’s benefit.

Damages for Unpaid Wages

An employee who was withheld the necessary minimum wages is entitled to recover various types of damages. These include an amount of the unpaid minimum wages, liquidated damages equal to the amount of unpaid damages if the employee can show the employer failed to use good faith in withholding the necessary payments (under federal law), a 5% penalty of the wages owed for each month the money remains unpaid (under state law), costs of bringing the action, and attorneys’ fees.

If you believe you are owed minimum wages, contact Osborne Employment Law today for an initial consultation.