SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Some workers across the state could see an increase in their pay next month. Illinois’ minimum wage goes up to $13 an hour for most workers starting Jan. 1.

“Minimum wage laws improve the standard of living for all workers of our state,” Jane Flanagan, the Director at the Illinois Department of Labor, said in a statement Wednesday. “Employers and employees should be aware of the increase to the minimum wage in Illinois.”

Mike Zengilani, the owner of Boone’s, supports the gradual increase in the minimum wage and some of his employees are already making $15 an hour.

“Without employees, you don’t make anything, so I am all for it,” Zengilani said, “The employees do work hard, and they need their money as well.”

At Cafe Moxo, Mark Forinash, the owner, said his employees started making $15 an hour in 2009. Since then, they ‘ve been making even more money.

“My goal is how do we find the best, the brightest, pay them a wage where they can afford a family and they don’t have to work two and three jobs at a time, and how can we grow this business at the same time with them,” Forinash said.

But as the hourly pay goes up, businesses have had to plan how they would make up the difference in extra cash.

“It obviously means you have to work a little bit harder to figure out where that money is going to come from because if you stay where you’re at, you’re going to be losing money,” Zengilani said.

It’s also meant raising the prices on some menu items. 

“I just plan for the increase whether it’s something in the food prices going up just to offset it,” Zengilani said.

With the cost of living on the rise, business owners also want to make sure their employees have enough money to make ends meet. 

“With raising prices and everything, whether it’s food, whether it’s cars, whether it’s gas, you have to go along with it,” Forinash said. “Even if we were just at $15 an hour and that’s where we stayed, it’s not going to help them to where they need to be.”

While Forinash also believes the $15 minimum wage increase should move forward by 2025, he questions if that will be enough in the future. 

“We got to take a really close look, is $15 gonna be enough in 2024, 2025, 2026? I’m not sure that it is,” Forinash said.