- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 2, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A task force formed by county supervisors intends to recommend that Polk County raise the local minimum wage to $10.75 an hour by 2019.

The Des Moines Register reports (https://dmreg.co/2aoHkoO ) that the task force will recommend that the board start with a $1.50 increase on April 1 next year, followed by $1 increases in January 2018 and 2019.

The task force had originally decided to recommend Jan. 1 for the $1.50 increase, but the group decided at its meeting Monday to delay that to April 1, giving businesses more time to adjust. The Polk County Board of Supervisors will likely consider the minimum wage increase in October.

Polk County Supervisor Tom Hockensmith said that in the third year, the county will have the highest minimum wage of any local government in the state.

In September Johnson County became the first Iowa community to increase the minimum wage above the national rate of $7.25 an hour, which was established in 2008. The county’s rate is rising in 95-cent increments and will reach $10.10 next year.

The task force has also voiced support for a wage for employees who are 17 years old and younger. Under the youth-worker wage, those employees would earn 85 percent of the local minimum wage. State law applies the minimum wage for workers 14 and older.

The law provides exemptions for workers who are in seasonal positions and for those who earn tips.

“You’re probably getting out onto thinner ice if we create a true youth wage. The question will be, ‘Who’s going to object to it?’” said Polk County Assistant Attorney Roger Kuhle.

Hockensmith said he plans to hold one more task force meeting this month to come to a decision about wage and youth workers and other potential exemptions attached to task force’s recommendation.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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