Following action on October 11, 2016, by the Polk County Board of Supervisors, Polk County’s minimum wage will increase from $7.25 to $8.75 per hour on April 1, 2017. The rate will increase to $9.75 on January 1, 2018 and to $10.75 on January 1, 2019. Future increases will be tied to the Consumer Price Index. Polk County is the fourth Iowa county (after Johnson, Linn, and Wapello counties) to raise its minimum wage above the federal and state minimum of $7.25 per hour.
Tipped workers and employees under the age of 18 are treated differently under the rule. The minimum wage for tipped workers will be $5.00 per hour beginning April 1, 2017, a change from the current minimum wage for tipped workers, who must be paid at least 60 percent of minimum wage. The minimum wage for employees under the age of 18 will be set at 85 percent of minimum wage for those 18 and over.
Employers should prepare for the new minimum wage to take effect in April but continue to monitor the issue. Cities within Polk County could opt out of the new rule (and comply with the current state and federal minimum of $7.25) or set their own minimum wage. The new rule could also be challenged for setting a different rate for workers under 18.