Wage and hour laws set the basic standards for pay and time worked—covering issues like minimum wage, tips, overtime, meal and rest breaks, what counts as time worked, when you must be paid, things your employer must pay for, and so on.
The federal wage and hour law is called the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Illinois also has its own wage and hour laws, and some local governments (like cities and counties) do, too. Employers subject to multiple wage and hour laws must follow whichever law is more favorable to the employee.
Employers with four or more employees, and employers of domestic workers, must pay the Illinois minimum wage of $8.25 per hour (in 2019). In all other cases, employers must pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25. In cities with a higher minimum wage, such as Chicago, employers must pay that amount.
Illinois employers may pay tipped employees an hourly wage of $4.95, as long as the employee’s tips bring the total hourly wage up to the state minimum wage. (For more information, see Nolo’s article Tips, Tip Pooling, and Tip Credits.)
In Illinois, employees must receive overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a week. Most employees are eligible for overtime, including domestic workers. However, certain categories of employees are exempt, including certain professional, managerial, and administrative workers. To learn more, see Nolo’s article Overtime Pay: Your Rights as an Employee or contact the Illinois Department of Labor.
All Illinois employers must provide employees with a meal break of 20 minutes, no later than five hours after the beginning of the shift, for employees who work seven-and-a-half or more continuous hours. To learn more, see our article on Illinois meal and rest breaks.
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