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This article covers different aspects of Iowa employment and labor laws including minimum wage, overtime, breaks, maternity, vacation time, sick leave, holidays, and more.

This article covers different aspects of Iowa employment and labor laws including minimum wage, overtime, breaks, maternity, vacation time, sick leave, holidays, and more. Learn more about Iowa employment and labor laws. There have not been any significant changes to Iowa employment laws or labor laws for 2022, but this article will cover everything you need to know about the current laws in place.  

Read more about Iowa’s employment discrimination laws and wrongful termination laws to protect the rights of employees across the state.  

Iowa’s Minimum Wage

In Iowa the minimum wage for all workers is currently $7.25 per hour worked.

Iowa’s Overtime Laws

In Iowa there are no state laws that protect or give rights of payment to Iowa employees for the payment of overtime hours, however under federal law, the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) applies in the state of Iowa. The FLSA states that there are no limits on the number of hours an employee may work for an employer in one workweek or workday, but the employer must pay the employee a rate of one and a half hours for all hours an Iowa employee works over 40 hours.

For example, John is an ironworker in a factory in Iowa, John works 60 hours a week at $20 an hour, John will get paid the standard $20 for the first 40 hours, and for the 20 hours John worked overtime he will receive a pay rate of one and a half times the pay of the $20 an hour which totals $30 an hour. Here is a breakdown of the pay for John:

40 Regular Hours @ $20 an hour= $800

20 Overtime Hours @ $30 an hour=$600

Total Pay: $1,400.00

Under FLSA although the employer is required to pay overtime to an employee if he works over 40 hours in one work week, the employer does not have to pay overtime if the employee is exempt from FLSA requirements. Also, it is important to note that an employer does not have to pay overtime to the employee as long as the employee does not work over 40 hours. It is important to note that if the employee works 10 hours a day for 4 days the employer still does not have to pay overtime under the FLSA for the 10-hour workday, and the employer does not have to pay overtime for an employee working holidays or weekends. If the employee works 40 hours or less in one work week, no matter how the hours are accumulated by the employee, the employer does not have to pay overtime.  

Iowa’s Meals and Breaks Laws for Employees

In Iowa under Iowa state law employees are entitled to a period of 30 minutes per shift to eat a meal if the employee is under the age of 16 and is to work five or more hours in that work shift.

Iowa does not have any laws that grant Iowa workers 16 years of age and older a break for meals, however the federal rules apply, the federal rules do not require an employer to provide a period to the employee to eat a meal but must give the employee paid breaks lasting 20 minutes or less. Break periods which last 30 minutes or more in time, do not require that the employee be paid.

Iowa Nursing Mothers Breaks

In Iowa mother’s who are nursing are not given the right to extract milk for their babies. Under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act “FLSA” a nursing mother is given breaks that are reasonable in time to be allowed to extract milk and private rooms to extract milk up to one year after the child is born.

Vacation Leave in Iowa

In the state of Iowa employers do not have to give employees paid or unpaid vacation time off. If an employer does give an employee vacation time off it must follow the terms of the employment contract between the employer and employee and the companies established vacation leave policy. If an employee leaves the company the employer is required to pay the employee their accrued vacation time if the company has an established vacation leave policy, but if the employer does not have an established vacation leave policy, or terms of the employment contract between the employer and employee do not provide for a vacation leave policy, then the employer is not required to pay the accumulated vacation time.

If the employer has an established vacation leave policy or the terms of the employment contract allow for the accumulation of vacation time, the employer can limit the amount of accumulated vacation time an employee may collect over a set period of time. The employer can also utilize what is known as a “use it or lose it” rule which requires the employee to use their vacation time or lose it if the employee fails to use the vacation time by a certain date.

An employer in the state of Iowa may also start a policy or contract with an employee to disallow the employee from collecting accrued vacation time pay if the employee gives their two weeks’ notice, or the employee fails to follow specific terms of the employment contract.

Sick Leave in the State of Iowa

In the state of Iowa there are no laws that require employers to give employees sick paid or unpaid time off. Under federal laws employers in Iowa are required to give employees unpaid sick time for the Family and Medical Leave Act “FMLA”.

Holiday Leave in the State of Iowa

Private employers in the state of Iowa are not required to provide employees holiday leave. Private employers also do not have to pay employees a higher rate for working holidays, such as Iowa’s overtime rate which stated above is 1.5 hours above regular hourly pay, unless the holiday worked constitutes overtime pay which is over the standard 40-hour work week. If an employer provides in its established employment policy or employment contract between the employer and employee paid or unpaid holiday leave then the employer must honor the employment contract between the employer and the employee, or the employers established holiday leave rules.

State Holidays for Public Employers and Employees

Compared to private employees, state employees are given paid time off work for certain recognized state holidays in Iowa. The only holidays in which Iowa state employees are not allowed paid time off work is for Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and George Washington’s birthday. Iowa state employees are allowed to take the day off work with pay, the Friday after Thanksgiving. When an Iowa state holiday happens to be on a Saturday the state holiday will be recognized on the Friday prior to the Saturday. When an Iowa state holiday falls on a Sunday it is observed the next Monday. If an Iowa state employee is required to work on a Iowa state holiday they will be given an equal amount of paid time off to be used on another day or will be paid in cash for the amount of time off they would have been given had they not worked on the holiday. It is important to note that state employees that do not accumulate sick time off work or vacation leave are not entitled to be compensated if they are required to work on a state holiday.

The following holidays that Iowa public employers follow:

  • January 1st (New Year’s Day)
  • 3rd Monday in January (Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday)
  • February 12th (Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday)
  • 3rd Monday in February (George Washington’s Birthday)
  • Last Monday in May (Memorial Day)
  • July 4th (American Independence Day)
  • 1st Monday in September (Labor Day)
  • November 11th (Veteran’s Day)
  • 4th Thursday in November (Thanksgiving Day)
  • December 25th (Christmas Day)

Veterans Day in the State of Iowa

Employers in the state of Iowa must allow veterans who are employees at the company that they work at, the day off from work in the state of Iowa. The employer has the option to pay or not pay the veteran employee for the time off on Veteran’s Day, and they must notify the veteran employee in writing whether the veteran employee will have the day off being paid or unpaid within 10 days. Employers may ask veteran employees to inform the employer by 30 days of written notice that the veteran employee will be taking the Veteran’s Day holiday off work. Employers are allowed to ask veteran employees for proof of their service in the US military.

Iowa Jury Duty Leave from Employment

In the state of Iowa an employer is not required to give employees paid time off for jury duty leave unless the employer and employee’s employment contract allows for paid time off for jury duty leave or the company has an established rule allowing for paid time off for jury duty leave. An employer is prohibited by law from retaliatory firing, threatening, harassing, or punishing an employee who takes time off work for jury duty.

Voting Leave in the State of Iowa

In the state of Iowa an employer must give an employee paid leave from work so that the employee may vote while the voting polls are open. To be eligible for paid time off work for voting in elections in Iowa an employee must request the leave from work in writing addressed to the employer the day prior to the voting day. The employer must provide the employee 3 hours paid time off work when combined with non-working time which gives the employee time to vote.

Bereavement Leave in the State of Iowa

In the state of Iowa employers do not have to provide employees time off work either paid or unpaid for an employee to attend a funeral of a family member, unless the company has a longstanding policy or rule which allows paid or unpaid bereavement leave or the employment contract between the employer and employee allows for paid or unpaid time off of work for bereavement leave.

Severance Pay in the State of Iowa

Under Iowa law employers are not required to give employees severance pay, if an employer decides to give an employee severance pay it must conform to the employment contract between the employer and the employee and must comply with the company's long standing rules regarding severance pay.

Unemployment Pay in the State of Iowa

Under Iowa law certain employees who have lost their jobs and are now former employees and new jobseekers in the state of Iowa, are entitled to unemployment payments while they are out of work and seeking new employment. The new jobseeker must initially apply for unemployment benefits and fill out an application here the new jobseeker must file a weekly unemployment claim here. Iowa jobseekers on unemployment can utilize the following website for resources to help them find their next job, post resumes, and search for jobs Iowa unemployment resources.

If you would like more information about Iowa Non-Compete Laws, Negligent Hiring and Employer Liability, Worker’s Compensation, Iowa Drug Testing Laws, and Iowa Independent Contractor Laws, check out our article on those topics.

If you are dealing with employment and labor issues in Iowa, please feel free to contact a trusted member of our team. Our employment and labor attorneys are here to help you with any employment disputes you may have. Give us a call at (630)-324-6666 or fill out our confidential contact form and a member of our team will be in touch with you.

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