Iowa Leave Laws

April 13th 2024

Taking leave is vital for the well-being of employees, and, as a result, US states have put leave laws in place detailing the entitlements of workers.

This article outlines the legal requirements surrounding leave in Iowa and explores the different types of leave available to employees.

Iowa has two types of leave: required and optional, each encompassing specific guidelines and requirements. These may vary according to regulations for state and private sectors.

This Article Covers

Iowa Required Leave
Iowa Non-Required Leave

Iowa Required Leave

In Iowa, employers are required to provide certain types of leave to their employees. The mandated leave types in Iowa include:

1. Sick and Family Leave

  • Eligibility: Employers are not obligated by the state to give paid sick leave. However, under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employers may be required to grant sick leave. An employee must work at an eligible company (more than 50 employees, government agency, elementary or secondary school), for at least 12 months and a minimum of 1,250 hours, and be based at a location with at least 50 employees within 75 miles.
  • Duration: Up to 12 weeks.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For various reasons including caring for a family member or child, having a serious health condition, or if a family member or spouse is on active military duty.

2. Jury Duty Leave

  • Eligibility: All employees who have been summoned for jury duty.
  • Duration: The scheduled and expected duration of the jury service.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For jury duty.
  • Pay: Employers are not required to pay the wages of employees who are on jury duty, but they cannot penalize employees for taking this time off. It’s important to note that any payment you receive from the state for serving on a jury doesn’t count as wages.

3. Voting Time Leave

  • Eligibility: All employees, provided that employers receive requests in writing before election day.
  • Duration: Employers must give their staff 3 hours of paid time off in a row for voting during the time that polls are open.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For voting in an election.

4. Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault Leave

  • Eligibility: There are no specific laws in Iowa that provide leave for employees who have been victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault. However, the state employment discrimination code prohibits employers from firing or reducing the pay of employees who are involved in domestic or elder abuse cases as witnesses, plaintiffs, or defendants.
  • Duration: For the required duration of the individual’s presence during the case.
  • Circumstance for Utilising Leave: To act as a witness, plaintiff, or defendant in a domestic or elder abuse case.

5. Emergency Response Leave

  • Eligibility: Employees who serve as volunteer medical service personnel or firefighters. Upon return from leave, you will be reinstated to your previous position and pay.
  • Duration: The scheduled duration of the emergency response.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To respond to emergencies and keep the public safe.

6. Organ and Bone Donation Leave

  • Eligibility: State employees who wish to donate an organ or bone marrow. When you return to work, your previous job position is guaranteed with the same salary.
  • Duration: You can take up to 5 workdays if you are donating bone marrow and up to 30 workdays if you are donating an organ, provided you offer the correct medical documentation. On top of that, you can take up to 2 hours in one workday for blood donation, a maximum of 4 times per year.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: For organ and bone marrow transplant donation.

7. Military Leave

  • Eligibility: State employees serving in the National Guard, United States Armed Forces, Civil Air Patrol, and United States Army Nurse Corps.
  • Duration: 30 paid days of military leave each calendar year.
  • Circumstance for Utilizing Leave: To fulfill military service requirements.

Iowa Non-Required Leave

In Iowa, employers are not obligated by law to offer specific types of leave to their employees unless explicitly stated in the agreement between the employer and employee. The following leave options are not legally mandated:

1. Bereavement Leave

Employers don’t need to provide bereavement leave or time off for employees attending funerals. However, if the employer chooses to offer this benefit, they must follow a company policy.

2. Vacation Time

When it comes to paid vacation leave in Iowa, state law doesn’t require employers to offer it. However, companies can choose to provide this benefit if they want to, as long as it aligns with their existing policies.

3. Holiday Leave

Private employers are not legally obligated to offer paid leave or premium pay for holiday work unless it turns into overtime. The singular exception is Veterans Day, where war veterans are entitled to certain benefits.

Public office employees and educators in public schools must have time off on state-recognized holidays.

The following are the official federal holidays observed in the US:

Holiday Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Election Day Every other year
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

 If you want to know more about the entitlements of employees in Iowa, you can read our guides on Your rights as a salaried employee in Iowa, and Your rights as an hourly employee in Iowa. You can also learn more about Iowa Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.