lightford mwage 062920 CHICAGO – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) is celebrating the July 1 increase to the state’s minimum wage, believing it will help working families navigate the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“So many families are struggling right now,” Lightford said. “Though minimum wage workers may count themselves lucky to have jobs while a great deal are unemployed, they still deserve to make a living wage. This increase takes them closer to that goal.”

The state’s minimum wage increases to $10 per hour July 1, the second in a series of increases required by a law Lightford passed last year after many years of hard work. That law requires the wage to increase by $1 on Jan. 1 of each year going forward until it reaches $15 per hour in 2025.

Lightford also has pushed back against business leaders who have used the pandemic and its associated economic downturn to try to repeal or delay the law.

“Minimum-wage earners hadn’t seen a raise since 2010,” Lightford said. “While I understand and sympathize with struggling small businesses, we can’t ask these hard working women and men to wait for their pay to go up. They’ve been waiting too long already.”

Lightford’s law controls the statewide minimum wage. Some communities, including Cook County and Chicago, have set higher local minimum wages, a move Lightford commends.