If you’re thinking about relocating to the Hawkeye State, you may be wondering, what is the minimum wage in Iowa? Is it enough to live on, or are you going to have to pick up side jobs to make ends meet? To address your concerns, we’ve covered everything you need to know about Iowa’s minimum wage below.
What Is a Minimum Wage?
The minimum wage is the lowest amount a company can pay a covered nonexempt employee for an hour of labor.
The federal government has set the minimum wage at $7.25 per hour, but states are also allowed to create their own minimum wage requirements. Nearly 30 states have a higher minimum wage than the federal standard. So is Iowa one of those states, or is their minimum wage the same as the federal standard?
What Is the Minimum Wage in Iowa?
The minimum wage in Iowa is $7.25 per hour for covered nonexempt employees, which is the same as the federal minimum wage. However, employers may be able to pay their workers less than that in certain situations.
Employers can pay workers under 20 years of age a training wage of $4.25 per hour during their first 90 days on the job. This helps make up for the loss of revenue and productivity that may happen when a business trains a new worker.
Students who have certain work-study jobs can also be paid at a lower rate of $6.16 an hour for up to 20 hours of work per week.
If you’re a tipped employee like a server or bartender, your employer can pay you as little as $4.35 per hour. But your tips must bring you up to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Otherwise, your employer has to make up the difference so you’re paid a fair wage.
Do Any Cities Have a Different Pay Rate?
Just like states, cities and counties are usually allowed to set their own minimum wage laws. This helps make up for differences in cost of living between areas and ensure workers are being paid a fair, living wage. But in 2017, Governor Terry Branstad signed off on legislation that made county and city minimum wages unenforceable.
Counties and cities are still allowed to set a minimum wage, but it isn’t legally binding anymore. Here are some of the areas that have symbolic minimum wages that are higher than the state standard:
- Wapello – $10.10 per hour
- Johnson County – $10.25 per hour
- Linn City – $10.25 per hour
- Polk City – $10.75 per hour
However, keep in mind that moving to one of these areas doesn’t guarantee you higher pay. The minimum wages listed above aren’t legally binding. Employers in the area are only required to pay their workers the state minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Is the Minimum Wage in Iowa Livable?
Although the minimum wage was designed to be a living wage when it was passed, it often falls short of today’s cost of living. In Iowa, a single person with no children would need to earn $13.62 an hour to afford their bills. That’s $6.37 per hour more than the current minimum wage in Iowa.
If you have kids, you need to earn even more to make ends meet. Two working adults with one child need to make at least $16.04 per hour to support themselves. It’s even harder for single parents, who need to earn a minimum of $29.18 to be self-sufficient.
That’s why many Iowans are hoping that Joe Biden will raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. But in the meantime, you’ll need to make up for the shortfall between your wages and the cost of living. You can do that by living with roommates or getting a side hustle like dog walking or freelance writing. It’s also a good idea to work on improving your skills so you can get a higher paying job in the future.
Is the minimum wage in Iowa sufficient, or do you think it needs to be raised? Let us know in the comments section below.
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