CHICAGO (WLS) –The minimum wage for Chicago workers jumped to $10 an hour on Wednesday in what the city says is first wage increase for city workers since 2010.
Although it helps people living paycheck to paycheck a bit, smaller businesses are wondering how they’ll afford to pay the increase.
At Just Salad in the Loop, it’s a busy lunch hour as 17 employees are on the clock to keep up with hungry students and employees. When the restaurant opened in April, staffers started at the higher hourly rate of $10 an hour.
“We knew about this requirement starting July 1, we figured why not recruit the best talent, get ahead of it,” said Jason Rotter, Just Salad.
Now, the rest of Chicago workers will be brought up to a minimum of $10 an hour.
“We provide working families a raise. I do not think if you work you should raise a child in poverty,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel during a City Hall press conference.
At City Hall, some rally for an even higher minimum wage of $15 an hour.
Patricia Evans making $10 as a home care provider but has had to go on food stamps to get by.
“The minimum wage was designed to pay workers so they could support their families, but it’s not happening now,” Evans said.
CR Phillips Child Development Center is already bracing for cuts from state budget. For now, the center’s director said they will have to cut hours in order to adhere to the city’s new minimum wage.
“It’s very difficult because my staff is already stretching it. When you work in child care, you are not making a lot of money,” said Antoinette Anderson, director of CR Phillips Child Development Center.
Next year the minimum wage will increase to $10.50 in Chicago and will continue to go up in increments to $13 an hour by 2019.