From the Illinois Chamber of Commerce
MIN. WAGE PASSES COMMITTEE; HEADS TO FLOOR
This week, progressive members of the House Democratic caucus took steps toward implementing a statewide $15 per hour minimum wage. House Amendment 1 to HB 198 (Guzzardi) was adopted by members of the House Labor and Commerce Committee 17-6-0.
Under the amendment, the minimum wage law is amended to provide for incremental increases starting at the current rate of $8.25 per hour. Beginning January 1, 2018, the minimum wage would be increased to $9 per hour, $10 by January 1, 2019, $11.25 per hour by 2020, $13 per hour by 2021, and $15 per hour by 2022. The bill provides tax credits for employers who employ less than 50 employees. However, the credit under the amendment are minimal that would unlikely provide sufficient relief in accommodating the new mandated wage.
At this moment, the Chamber does not believe that the House would have the votes to pass such a mandate, however, this is a significant advancement of organized labor’s quest for a $15 per hour minimum wage.
CHAMBER BATTLES MANDATED PAID SICK LEAVE
The Illinois Chamber and members of the business community have been actively lobbying against a pair of bills that are currently on the House and Senate floor. SB 1296 (Hutchinson) and HB 2771 (C. Mitchell) would require employers, regardless of size, to provide a minimum of 5 days of paid sick leave to their employees, both full-time and part-time. Employees would accrue 1 hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, accruing up to 56 hours annually. The employee would have to be employed for 180 days before taking paid time off.
The Chamber opposes this paid sick leave mandate as this one-size fits-all approach would disproportionately hurt small businesses. Many currently survive on the slimmest of margins and often have fluctuating revenue as well as staffing needs. Small businesses would have less means to handle the increased costs that would come with this mandate.
Employers and employees need flexibility when determining what type of leave benefits work best for them. SB 1296 and HB 2771 take away that flexibility. If a business offers paid time off, not designated strictly as sick or vacation time, they will have to change existing systems to accommodate the mandate. Businesses will be forced to adjust other time off benefits and reduce schedule flexibility which ultimately hurts employees.
Amendments to both bills create exemptions for the construction businesses with CBAs, school and park districts and City of Chicago sister agencies. This illustrates the problematic and costly nature of the paid leave mandate. But all other industries and business would continue to be unfairly burdened.
‘RIGHT TO KNOW’ UPDATE
The proposal treats basic information such as names, addresses and phone numbers as “highly sensitive,” extending requirements beyond corporate tech giants to other businesses like restaurants that offer online ordering services.
HB 2774, received an amendment this week that would 1) exempt businesses from the act that have less than 5 employees; 2) limit the scope of who can bring about lawsuits for non-compliance; and 3) disperse moneys from any lawsuit in violation of the act and be placed in the Cyber-secure Illinois Educational Advancement Fund. The Chamber is still reviewing the amendment.
THIS WEEK’S LEGISLATIVE RECAP
The House and Senate were both in session this week. See below for a highlight of this week’s legislative action in Springfield.
House Floor Amendment No. 1 to HB 2801 (Zalewski) passed favorably out of the House Revenue and Finance Committee this week. HB 2801 deals with the taxation of liquefied natural gas and compressed natural gas under the Motor Fuel Tax Law, bringing Illinois in line with several surrounding states. The Chamber is in support.
SB 1760 (McGuire) passed Senate Labor Committee. The bill creates the Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act. Provides that a discharge from employment is wrongful if it (1) was a constructive discharge, (2) was in retaliation for the employee’s refusal to violate public policy or for reporting a violation of public policy, (3) was not for good cause and the employee had completed the employer’s probationary period for employment, or (4) the employer violated the express provisions of its written personnel policy.
Energy & Environment
Amendment 1 to HB 1848 (Phillips) was moved to subcommittee in House Energy Committee. HB 1848 as amended would require the inclusion of sourcing agreements between “clean coal facilities” and both utilities and alternative retail electric suppliers as part of each annual procurement plan from the IPA and ICC. The Chamber is opposed.
Transportation & Infrastructure
This week the Illinois Chamber testified in support of HB 2691 (Phelps), otherwise known as the telecommunication rewrite of 2017. The hearing was a subject matter hearing, where no votes were taken. Conversations continue to take place regarding the bill.
HFA 1 to HB 1274 (Turner) Passed out of the House Consumer Protection Committee on party lines with the House democrats all voting in favor. This bill would prohibit financial institutions from charging more than $1 per transaction at ATMs. The Chamber slipped in opposition.