Iowa Salaried Employees Laws

January 29th 2024

Salaried employees are individuals who receive a predetermined fixed amount of compensation at regular intervals, such as weekly or less frequently. These employees are subject to specific regulations that govern their working conditions.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the applicable laws and regulations that outline the rights and responsibilities of both salaried employees and their employers in Iowa. It will cover various aspects, including payment policies, break and leave entitlements, as well as the classification of exempt and non-exempt employees.

This article covers:


Payment of Wages for Salaried Employees in Iowa

According to regulations in Iowa, it’s obligatory to remunerate employees at least monthly, with a preference for semimonthly paydays set at predetermined intervals. The chosen payday should consistently fall on the same day each month and ideally occur no later than 12 days following the conclusion of the work period in which the earnings were accrued.

To ensure compliance with the law and prevent unpaid wages, employers frequently utilize payroll hours tracking to manage pay periods and approvals.

Salaried Employees Eligibility for Overtime for Iowa

Being a salaried employee does not automatically exempt employees from overtime. Iowa acknowledges the eligibility of overtime compensation for specific salaried staff.

Specific exemptions exist for overtime pay including individuals in executive, administrative, and professional roles, provided they meet specific criteria related to job duties, responsibilities, and minimum weekly salary.

In Iowa, employers are obligated to compensate workers at a rate of 1.5 times their regular hourly wage for any hours worked beyond 40 in a week. For employees earning the minimum wage in Iowa, the current overtime rate is 1.5 times $7.25/hour, which equals $10.88/hour. Mandatory overtime can be implemented as long as employees receive appropriate compensation.

Pay for Working Overtime for Iowa Salaried Employees

To establish the overtime rate for a salaried employee, an employer should initially calculate their hourly rate by dividing the salary by the hours the salary is intended to cover.

Subsequently, employ the hourly pay rate in the following formula to compute the overtime rate for salaried employees:

Hourly pay rate x Overtime Hours x Overtime Rate (1.5)

It’s essential to recognize that if an employee’s salary caters to fewer than 40 hours in a workweek, their regular rate will be included for each subsequent hour until reaching 40 hours. Only beyond the 40-hour mark will the time-and-a-half rate be implemented.

For those whose salary spans 40 hours in a workweek, time-and-a-half compensation will apply to any hours exceeding 40.

Due to the complexity of these computations, several tools like overtime compliance software or even time and attendance software are used to streamline these calculations and minimize the possibility of human errors.

Exceptions to Overtime Exemptions for Iowa Salaried Employees

Much like the way the FLSA oversees overtime pay regulations, it also governs the exemptions. The categories exempt from these regulations encompass:

  • Executives, Administrative staff, Professionals
  • Salespeople operating outside the company premises
  • Workers at recreational or amusement venues or organized camps
  • Employees earning a weekly salary of at least $684

Violation of Salaried Employees Wages Payment in Iowa

Employers have a legal duty to consistently compensate their employees and the Wage Payment Collection Act. (Chapter 91A, Iowa Code) in Iowa offers employees remedies and compensation if their employers fail to fulfill wage payment obligations as mandated by the law.

In case legal action becomes necessary to obtain wages, the employer might be required to cover court expenses and attorney fees. 

If the employee can demonstrate that the employer deliberately withheld their wages, the court could also impose a “liquidated damages” penalty of 5% of the unpaid wages per day, up to a maximum of 100% of the total owed wages.

Male and Female Salaried Employees in Iowa

According to Federal regulations, it is prohibited for an employer to offer different pay rates based on gender to employees performing comparable or equivalent tasks.

Iowa’s Equal Pay Act (Iowa Code Section 216.6A), introduced in 2009, go further by preventing employers from differentiating compensation based on factors such as race, color, gender, pregnancy, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Iowa’s Equal Pay Act ensures parity in payment for employees engaging in similar tasks, eliminating disparities related to race, color, gender, pregnancy, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The legislation mandates equal remuneration for workers involved in roles that demand comparable levels of skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions.

Apart from broadening the coverage against pay discrimination, Iowa’s Equal Pay Act introduces an enhanced damage clause. This clause permits victims of wage discrimination to recover double the wage gap throughout the period of discrimination, and even triple the wage gap if the discrimination was intentional. This is crucial because it disincentivizes employers from benefiting financially through discriminatory practices.

While Iowa has a comprehensive Equal Pay Act, its effectiveness hinges on women taking the initiative to bring legal action against their employers. However, this approach poses a challenge as employers are not obligated to reveal employee salaries. As a result, numerous women remain unaware that they are receiving lower pay compared to their male colleagues.

Leave Entitlements for Salaried Employees in Iowa

In Iowa, salaried employees are entitled to various types of leave. The state doesn’t require employers to provide paid sick leave, but the Family and Medical Leave Act can apply in certain situations, granting up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for caring for family members, addressing health conditions, or dealing with active military duty within eligible workplaces. Job protection is ensured during this leave period. Organ and bone donation leave permits 5 workdays for bone marrow donation and up to 30 workdays for organ donation.

Iowa employers must allow jury duty leave without penalizing employees, though it’s unpaid. Voting time leave mandates 3 hours of paid time off for voting, and emergency response leave is available for volunteer medical service personnel and firefighters during emergencies. Military leave for state employees offers 30 paid days per calendar year for National Guard, Armed Forces, Civil Air Patrol, and Army Nurse Corps service members.

Break Entitlements for Salaried Employees in Iowa

In Iowa, state regulations concerning breaks for standard employees are absent, leading employers to follow federal guidelines. According to federal law, employers are not obligated to furnish meal breaks. The only specific break-related rules apply to minors working under an employer. These minor employees are entitled to a 30-minute break after every 5 consecutive hours of work. However, employers have the option to provide meal breaks. Breaks lasting 20 minutes or less are compensated, while those exceeding 20 minutes are classified as unpaid meal breaks.

Deductions from Exempt Employees’ Salary in Iowa

Employers in Iowa are prohibited from making specific wage deductions or withholding rightful payments, unless it is mandated by law or with written employee authorization.

Deductions are permissible for taxes, contributions to employee benefits like 401(k) plans, and health insurance, as long as the employee provides consent. However, According to Iowa Code § 91A.5, deductions cannot be made for cash shortages in shared registers, losses from checks accepted by employee discretion, property damage or credit losses, and stolen property. Gratuities from customers, personal protective equipment costs (except clothing), and certain return-to-work expenses cannot be deducted either. 

Modern time-clock software now includes functionalities for calculating breaks and automated deductions, aiding employers in preventing legal infringements while ensuring precise payroll deductions.

Termination of Employment for Salaried Employees in Iowa

In Iowa, the employment-at-will principle permits employees to be dismissed for any reason during their contract period. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to emphasize that terminating someone based on discrimination or retaliation is against the law. As outlined by state regulations, employers are required to furnish their employees with their final wage on the upcoming regular payday, irrespective of the reason for their termination.

Learn more about Iowa Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.