Iowa State Holidays

The State of Iowa has designated several days each calendar year as state holidays. The implications of these state holidays on public employers and private employers are discussed below.

The following list contains the state holidays recognized by Iowa.

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

IA Statute 1C.1

Public employers

State employees are entitled to take the day off with pay for all the holidays listed above except Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday. They are also entitled to take the Friday after Thanksgiving off with pay. When a holiday falls on a Saturday, it is observed on the prior Friday. When a holiday falls on a Sunday, it is observed on the following Monday.

If an state employee who accrues sick leave or vacation is required to work on a holiday, they may be granted an equal amount of compensatory time off to be taken on another day or be paid a cash payment for an equivalent amount of time. State employees who do not accrue sick leave or vacation are not entitled to compensatory pay if they are required to work on a holiday. IA Statute 1C.2

Private employers

Private employers in Iowa are not required to close on any of the listed holidays. Additionally, accept for veterans on Veterans Day, private employers are not required to allow employees to take either paid or unpaid time off on the holidays nor are they required to pay employees any premium wage rates to employees who work on the holidays.

Private employers may establish policies or practices granting employees time off on any of the listed holidays or agree to pay premium wage rates to employees who work on those days. Employers who establish such policies or practices may be required to comply with them.

Employers are required to allow employees who are veterans to take time off on Veterans Day. Employers may chose whether the time off will be paid or unpaid and must notify the eligible employees within ten (10) of Veterans Day whether the time will be paid or unpaid.

Employers may require employees to provide at least one (1) month’s prior written notice of their intent to take time off on Veterans Day. Employers may also require employees, before they may take time off on Veterans Day, to provide a federal certificate of release or discharge from active duty or a similar federal document.

If an employer is unable to provide time off for Veterans Day to all employees because of the impact on its operation, the employer may limit the number of employees who can take time off to the number the employer needs to protect public health and safety or to maintain minimum operational capacity.

Iowa Statute 91A.5A

Find out more about Iowa’s Leave Laws.

Federal Holidays

Click here for a list of federal holidays.