Governor Rauner Vetoes Minimum Wage Increase and Wage Inquiry Prohibition

By Jim Griffin, JD, Employment Counsel
Published September 12, 2017

Rauner vetos minimum wage inceaseOn August 25, 2017, Governor Rauner vetoed two bills that would have significantly impacted Illinois employers had he signed them into law. The first bill, SB0081, would have amended the Illinois Minimum Wage Law to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022. In a statement issued by Governor Rauner, he argued that economic evidence suggested such a large wage increase would hurt workers more than help them because the increased labor costs would lead to employers cutting hours, laying off employees or refraining from hiring new ones.

The bill passed in the Senate by a vote of 30-23 and the House by a vote of 61-53. A veto override would require 36 votes in the Senate and 71 in the House, so an override is unlikely. Had Governor Rauner signed the bill, Illinois would have joined California and New York as the third state to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

The second bill would have prohibited employers from asking applicants about their wage histories. This bill, which sought to combat gender-based pay disparities, had even more support in the General Assembly, passing by a vote of 35-17 in the Senate and 91-24 in the House, so a veto override would only require one more vote in the Senate.

If the bill ultimately becomes law, individuals would have a private right of action against any employer who seeks wage history or screens out applicants based on their wage history. Numerous other jurisdictions, including Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, New York City and San Francisco have passed similar laws or ordinances, although each law varies slightly. For instance, the New York City law and San Francisco ordinance explicitly permit employers to discuss salary expectations of an applicant (without requesting information relating to past compensation), while the Illinois bill and other laws are silent on the issue. 

We will continue to monitor developments regarding these bills, but as always, Association members may contact us at or 800-448-4584 with questions. There will be a session on pay equity at our 2017 Employment Law Conference, on September 28 in Naperville. It’s not too late to register. Don’t miss this information-packed day.


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