On September 10, 2015, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an Ordinance Establishing a Johnson County Minimum Wage, which took effect November 1, 2015.

On March 30, 2017, Governor Branstad signed House File 295. One of the provisions of that bill makes local minimum wage ordinances, such as the one passed by Johnson County, void and unenforceable as of that date. 

Recognizing the high cost of living in Johnson County as well as the economic and social benefits of reducing poverty, the Board of Supervisors urges employers to voluntarily pay their employees at least $10.75 per hour and, if possible, to strive to pay a “living wage.” On July 1, 2024, the recommended living wage will increase to $12.64 per hour. The Board of Supervisors uses Consumer Price Index data to set the increase, which is based on inflation. More information about the cost of living in Johnson County is contained in a 2015 report from The Iowa Policy Project.

While Johnson’s County minimum wage ordinance is no longer enforceable, the Board of Supervisors believes that the work done to raise awareness of the needs of low-wage workers and the attempt to raise their standard of living was worthwhile. Therefore, this webpage will continue to be available for public reference for the foreseeable future.

This page includes information for workers, employers and residents. More information will be added as questions arise.

Minimum Wage FAQs

The following FAQ's were drafted in 2015, when the Johnson County Board of Supervisors passed the original ordinance establishing a Johnson County Minimum Wage. They have been retained on this page as a historic public reference. 

Click here to get a copy of the following FAQs

How does the Johnson County minimum wage relate to federal and state minimum wage requirements?

Covered employers are required to pay the higher of the current federal minimum wage (29 U.S.C. Section 206), the current state minimum (Iowa Code Chapter 91D) or the Johnson County wage. Currently, the wage set forth in the Johnson County ordinance is the highest of those three, but this may not always be the case.

When does the ordinance take effect? 

The ordinance is scheduled to take effect on November 1, 2015, along with the first of several, gradual wage increases.

What will the minimum wage be in Johnson County when the ordinance takes effect? 

November 1, 2015 – April 30, 2016: $ 8.20 per hour 
May 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016 $ 9.15 per hour 
January 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018 $10.10 per hour

What happens after June 30, 2018?

On July 1, 2018, and each July 1 thereafter, the Johnson County hourly wage will be increased by an amount corresponding to the previous calendar year’s increase, if any, in the Consumer Price Index for the Midwest region as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. The Board of Supervisors will announce the adjusted hourly wage by April 1 of each year.

What employers are covered by the ordinance?


Johnson County’s ordinance applies to the same employers covered by the state minimum wage law, set forth in Iowa Code Chapter 91D. Generally, employers that gross at least $300,000 in sales or business per year must comply with the ordinance. In addition some employers may be covered regardless of business volume. This includes:

  • Public agencies
  • Hospitals and residential care facilities for the sick, elderly, mentally or physically handicapped or gifted children
  • Schools and preschools
  • Most daycares
  • Employers engaged in construction, reconstruction, laundry or dry cleaning

Certain employers in agriculture, certain summer camps and others are exempt from the minimum wage requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended to January 1, 2007 and thus exempt from the Johnson County ordinance.

What employees are covered by the ordinance?

Employees who have worked 90 days or more for a covered employer and who perform more than two hours of work within Johnson County or an applicable municipality within a two week time period must be paid the county minimum hourly wage. An employee who has not completed ninety calendar days of employment with the employer must be paid an hourly wage of at least $6.35, which is the same as current state law.

What about tipped employees?

Johnson County’s ordinance mirrors state law and provides that, for purposes of determining whether employees of restaurants, hotels, motels, inns or cabins who customarily and regularly receive more than thirty dollars a month in tips, are receiving the minimum wage, the wage may be deemed to be increased by the amount of tips received as long as that amount does not exceed 40% of the applicable minimum wage. This means that for qualifying tipped employees, the employer must pay at least the following hourly wage: 

November 1, 2015 – April 30, 2016 $4.92/hour 
May 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016 $5.49/hour 
January 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018 $6.06/hour 

If in any work week the wage paid and the tips received do not equal the applicable minimum wage, the employer is required to pay the difference.

What about employees who work occasionally in Johnson County?

If, during a two week period, an employee performs two hours of work in Johnson County or a municipality that has not enacted a conflicting ordinance, the employee must be paid the Johnson County minimum wage for the hours worked here during that two week period.

How will the ordinance be enforced?

The ordinance can be enforced as a county infraction pursuant to Iowa Code Section 331.307. County infractions are punishable by a civil penalty of not more than $750 for each violation or not more than $1,000 for each repeat offense. 

In addition, the ordinance is enforceable through the state’s wage payment collection law, set forth in Iowa Code Chapter 91A, which gives an employee a cause of action against the employer and also authorizes the State Labor Commissioner to enforce wage claims on behalf of employees. Chapter 91A allows the employee to recover unpaid wages as well as applicable attorneys fees.

Can the ordinance be amended?

A majority of the Board of Supervisors can amend the ordinance at any time. The amendment would require three public considerations.

Upon reaching the effective dates of increases, are employers obligated to pay the new wage for the entire pay period which includes the effective date of the increase?

No. The higher rate applies for hours worked on or after the effective date.