Iowa Labor Law Breaks
Regarding rest periods for workers 16 years of age and older, Iowa falls back on federal law. Only if it lasts less than 20 minutes must a meal break be paid if an employer wishes to offer one. As long as the employee is entirely relieved of all obligations, breaks longer than 30 minutes are considered meal intervals and do not require payment. For workers under the age of 16 who put in more than five straight hours, at least 30 minutes.
Iowa Maternity Laws
The state of Iowa does not have any state-level laws in regard to maternity leave. Instead, Iowa uses the federal laws of the Family and Medical Leave Act which is designed to help United States citizens keep their employment while taking necessary personal leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act allow employees to take a leave of absence from work to take care of the medical issue themselves or intermediate family members.
This act also covers maternity leave and paternity leave. Maternity leave is designated for employees to care for their newborns or for adoptive parents to bond with their new children. Such leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act can last a maximum of twelve weeks and must be taken continuously and not separated over several months’ time. All of these twelve weeks are to be unpaid. If an individual wish to return to employment earlier than twelve weeks, it is at the discretion of the employer. Employees are only permitted twelve weeks of family or medical leave a year.
While employees are on maternity leave or leave for medical or family purposes, an employer has the right to hire a temporary employee to fill any positions. At times current employees will take on the responsibilities so hiring is not a necessity. When the twelve-week time period has ended, the employee on leave is entitled to his or her former position or a position of the same salary and benefits.
It is illegal for an employee on leave to be terminated because he or she was on leave or is pregnant. If an employer would rather keep a temporary employee instead of the employee on leave, another position must be made available or the temporary employee will have to be terminated.
Iowa Minimum Wage
In 2009 the United States increased its federal minimum wage to seven dollars and twenty-five cents from its previous five dollars and fifteen cents. Due to this change, all states were required to increase their minimum wages to at least seven dollars and twenty-five cents. Some states opted to increase their minimum wages far above this minimum, while others chose only to meet this mark.
The state of Iowa chose to match the federal minimum wage. The federal minimum wage does not increase each year, but whenever the wage does increase, each state is required to follow. Employers may pay employees more than minimum wage at any time but are not permitted to pay less than the federal minimum.
All employers are legally bound to pay employees no less than their state’s minimum wage. However, employees who receive tips on a regular basis are allowed to be paid less than the minimum wage as their acquired tips compensate for the lowered payment. Employees are entitled to all of their tips and are not required to share any portion with a manager who has a set salary. When tips are acquired in mass, employees are to pool the tips and divide them evenly at the end of the shift.