Illinois Governor Pritzger has signed a bill raising the Illinois minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025, making Illinois the first Midwestern state to hike the minimum wage to that level. States on both coasts, including California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, have already moved to enact such a hike.

Currently, the minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 per hour. Under the new legislation, the minimum wage will increase to $9.25 by January 1, 2020 and to $10 on July 1, 2020. The minimum wage will then increase by $1 per hour each January 1 until it reaches $15 per hour in 2025.

The business community opposed this across the board increase, arguing that there should be a longer phase-in and a regional approach with a lower minimum wage outside the city of Chicago. Payroll tax credits provided for in the new legislation are supposed to ease the burden for the business community.

One of the featured stories on Employment Law This Week – Epstein Becker Green’s new video program – is that there will be no BlackBerry overtime pay for cops in Chicago.

A federal magistrate judge in the Northern District of Illinois ruled that time spent by Chicago police officers actually answering emails on their BlackBerries was work eligible for overtime. However, “monitoring” of their BlackBerries was not work because the officers were still free to use the time predominantly for their own benefit. Regardless, the judge found that the City did not know the employees were doing any work, and the officers failed to report it, so the workers were not entitled to any compensation. There is reportedly a plan to appeal. In mid-2015, the Wage & Hour Division requested information regarding the use of portable electronic devices by employees outside of scheduled work hours, so this issue is one to watch.

See below to view the episode and watch “What’s Behind the 2015 Increase in FLSA Lawsuits?” on our blog.