IOWA CITY — While unenforceable, Johnson County Supervisors have asked local businesses to honor a 17-cent increase to the local minimum wage ordinance.
The board on Thursday approved increasing to the local rate by 17 cents to $10.27 an hour on July 1.
Supervisors admitted last year’s pre-emption legislation — which eliminated a county’s ability to enforce a minimum wage higher than the state rate of $7.25 an hour — makes the county rate more symbolic than anything. However, board members said they hope many of the business owners who have honored the $10.10 rate continue to follow future increase, which are based on Consumer Price Index data.
Officials with the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa have said close to 160 area businesses have pledged support to the $10.10 rate.
“Many Johnson County businesses continue to honor our recommended minimum wage, even after the State took away local control from counties and cities to set the wage,” Supervisor Mike Carberry said in a news release.
Citing home rule authority, Johnson County Supervisors in 2015 became the first in the state to pass a countywide minimum wage increase, which phased up to $10.10 an hour last January.
A handful of counties, including Polk, Linn and Wapello, began following suit with their own minimum wage increases until the Iowa Legislature last spring passed pre-emption rules stripping counties of their ability to pass a rate higher than the state rule.
The Johnson County Board of Supervisors over the past several years has gradually increased the starting minimum pay for all county employees, including poll workers and seasonal employees. This July, that rate will reach $14 an hour and the plan is to increase the county’s minimum starting pay to $15 next summer.
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The county’s pay increases for the current fiscal year affected about 280 part-time, temporary and seasonal employees and interns. Those positions include about four Secondary Roads employees, about 18 positions in the Conservation Department and more than 250 election poll workers.
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