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The minimum wage in Illinois will rise to $10 an hour by the end of 2020 and $15 an hour by 2025. But, as one lawyer noted at the Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development seminar noted on Oct. 9, this is not the only change. Many have overlooked that, as part of the new law, the penalty components for incorrectly calculating payroll start with triple back pay. Employers also owe statuary penalty of 5% of the amount of the underpayment per month that amount goes unpaid, up from 2%. Employers should be mindful of two major pitfalls: misclassifying employees as exempt or non-exempt and failing to pay employees for every minute they work. Employers must not override an employee’s time record to make budget if an employee is tracking their hours properly. Moreover, all employees, exempt or non-exempt, need to be tracking their hours. The Illinois Department of Labor can assess a $100 penalty per impacted employee per workday that the records are not kept, which goes directly to the Department of Labor’s Wage Theft Enforcement Fund. Employers can avoid penalties by making sure that each employee is aware of the need to track their hours and update policies in the employee handbook.

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