Wage and Hour Laws in Iowa | Current Iowa Labor Laws

Minimum Wage

To date, Iowa’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. However, this rate does not apply to all employees. This minimum wage rate does not cover some industries and companies in Iowa. Employers accountable to the Fair Labor Standards Act and other federal laws must pay the workers the federal minimum wage rate if it is higher than the state.

Iowa’s current minimum wage is $7.25.

For more information on Iowa’s minimum wage laws, visit our Iowa Minimum Wage Laws page, which includes topics such as minimum wage, tip minimum wage, tip sharing and pooling, and subminimum wages.

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Iowa labor laws do not have laws governing the payment of overtime. Federal overtime laws apply. See FLSA: Overtime for more information regarding overtime requirements.

There are no limits to the number of hours one can work in a workweek under the FLSA. However, all employers need to ensure that covered employees receive overtime pay 1.5 times their minimum wage rate.

According to federal law, the employees should receive their overtime pay for all the excess hours worked in a workweek over the regular 40.

Prevailing Wages

Iowa does not have a prevailing wage law that governs wage rates on government project or service contracts.

Under certain circumstances, employers in Iowa may be required to pay residents wage rates established by federal prevailing wage rates and rules. The prevailing wage rates may be different from the federal and state’s standard minimum wage rates.

Employees may be eligible for prevailing wages if they work on government or government-funded construction projects or perform certain government services. See the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA), and Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA) for more information about prevailing wages.

Implementing the prevailing wage law ensures that workers receive the right wages from federal contractors and subcontractors. It is the responsibility of the Wage and Hour Division of the US Department of Labor to monitor and enforce the prevailing wage laws.

Meals and Breaks

Iowa labor laws require employers to grant a meal period of at least thirty (30) minutes to employees under the age of sixteen (16) scheduled to work five (5) or more consecutive hours. Iowa Code 92.7; IA Div. of Labor Wage FAQs.

Iowa does not have any laws requiring an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to employees sixteen (16) years of age or older, thus the federal rule applies. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal (lunch) period or breaks.

However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than twenty (20) minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually thirty (30) minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period. DOL: Breaks and Meal Periods.

Although federal law does not ask employers to give their employees lunch periods or meal breaks, some do due to customs and policy. Also, most of these employers recognize that employees have increased productivity rates when allowed to eat and rest.

Providing rest and meal breaks have become mandatory for some states, but Iowa has not followed the trend yet.

Nursing Mother Breaks

Iowa labor laws do not require employers to provide nursing mothers with breaks to express breast milk. However, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires certain employees to provide nonexempt nursing mothers for one (1) year following a child’s birth with reasonable rest breaks to express milk and private spaces, other than a bathroom, to express breast milk.

Currently, Iowa has two laws in line with breastfeeding. House File #2350, which took effect in 1994, exempts a nursing mother from jury duty if she is the one taking care of her child. In addition, Senate File #2302 in 1999, entitled Breastfeeding in Public Places, authorizes a nursing mother to breastfeed her child even in public places.

Currently, all 50 US states have existing laws on breastfeeding coinciding with the present federal law.

Vacation Leave

Iowa does not demand employers to provide paid or unpaid vacation leave to their employees.  If an employer decides to offer vacation leave benefits to their employees, it must comply with the employment contract terms.

Employees should not expect payment for their accrued vacation during their discharge if it is not discussed in their employment terms.

Information about Iowa vacation leave laws may now be found on our Iowa Leave Laws page.

Sick Leave

In Iowa, employers don’t have to provide paid or unpaid sick leave benefits to their employees. However, some federal laws may ask employers to offer unpaid sick leave benefits to their employees following the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Information about Iowa sick leave laws may now be found on our Iowa Leave Laws page.

Holiday Leave

Private employers in Iowa don’t have to provide paid or unpaid holiday leave to their employees. Also, they don’t have to give their employees higher pay just because they work on a holiday.

Employers can offer overtime pay if the hours worked are more than the required 40-hours workweek. If an employer decides to offer holiday leave benefits for their employees, it must follow the employment contract terms.

Information about Iowa holiday leave laws may now be found on our Iowa Leave Laws page.

Jury Duty Leave

All Iowa employers must allow their employees to perform jury duties without penalizing them. The option to make it a paid time off depends on the employer-employee agreement during employment and the established company policy about this matter.

Employers cannot coerce, discharge, harass, punish, or threaten their employees for responding to a jury summons.

Information about Iowa jury duty leave laws may now be found on our Iowa Leave Laws page.

Voting Leave

There is a mandate for Iowa employers to grant paid leave to employees, ensuring they have three consecutive hours to vote while polls are open. To qualify for this benefit, employees need to submit a written request addressed to the employer a day before the election.

Information about Iowa voting leave laws may now be found on our Iowa Leave Laws page.

Severance Pay

Under Iowa law, employers have no legal obligations to provide severance pay to their employees. If employers decide to offer severance pay upon termination of service, they must comply with the employment contract given to employees.

Iowa labor laws do not require employers to provide employees with severance pay. If an employer chooses to provide severance benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.


Under certain circumstances, Iowa residents may be eligible for unemployment benefits while they search for another job. You are required to certify that you are unemployed on a weekly basis to receive these benefits. See Iowa State Unemployment Benefits.

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