DES MOINES, Iowa — The task force recommending a $10.75 minimum wage in Polk County also is recommending that employers would have to pay only 85 percent of that wage to workers younger than 18.
The task force voted for the recommendation Thursday. The plan now goes to the county Board of Supervisors, The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/2bFQdOW) reports.
The proposal would boost Polk County’s minimum wage to $8.75 in April. It would reach $10.75 by January 2019.
A new minimum wage ordinance is expected to be approved by the Polk County Board of Supervisors in October.
Some task force members sought the lower wage for young workers because of limitations placed on the teens’ duties and hours. Polk County Assistant Attorney Roger Kuhle had told task force members the separate youth wage would put the county’s ordinance on “thinner ice” legally, because state law applies the minimum wage for workers 14 and older.
Thirteen-year-old Chloe Craig of Des Moines asked the task force to consider teenagers who work to support their families.
“We have to consider the homeless teens or the teens that are raising a child that they had at a young age or their siblings,” Craig said.
Iowa Restaurant Association president Jessica Dunker and Impact Community Action Partnership executive director Anne Bacon both voted against lowering the youth worker wage.
Dunker said she was concerned that the wage would dissuade some employers from hiring adults and instead hire teenagers.
Des Moines Education Association president Andrew Rasmussen criticized that wage increase plan, saying that it is a “good try,” but it doesn’t go far enough.
“I’m going to have to give you a C minus,” Rasmussen said. “It’s not bad, but it could have been better.”