Labor Compliance Guide

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

For most employees, there is no limit on the number of hours unless there is an employment agreement or contract that says otherwise. Many employers give rest and meal breaks due to health and safety concerns. There are limits on the number of hours children under age 16 can work, and some contracts for employment contain limits.


The hours of two or more weeks may not be averaged. Under state law, a driver or a driver-salesperson for a private carrier, who is not for hire and is engaged exclusively in intrastate commerce, may drive 12 hours, be on duty 16 hours in a 24 hour period and be on duty 70 hours in seven consecutive days or 80 hours in eight days. The same limitations apply to for-hire drivers of trucks and truck-tractors who are engaged exclusively in intrastate commerce moving construction materials and equipment to and from construction projects.


Iowa has no general provision governing overtime pay, but most employees would be subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires that all nonexempt employees be paid at a rate of 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a week.


There are no general provisions for rest breaks. An employer must provide minors younger than age 16 who work for five hours or more each day a break of at least 30 minutes.

Annual Leave

Employers must follow their own policies, practices or contracts regarding benefits. In the absence of such an agreement, annual leave benefits are not required.

Minimum Wage

Employees covered by Iowa’s minimum wage law must be paid at least $7.25 an hour. Employers must pay covered employees the state minimum wage or the federal minimum wage, whichever is greater.


Employers can pay $6.35 an hour to employees with fewer than 90 calendar days of employment. If employees are terminated after fewer than 90 days and rehired within three years of their initial hiring, the starting employment wage can be paid until the 90-calendar-day employment period is reached.

Tips & Gratuities

Tips can be credited for up to 40 percent of the minimum wage for employees receiving at least $30 per month in tips. Employers must pay tipped employees $4.35 an hour, based on a tip credit of $2.90.

Meal Breaks

Iowa has no laws mandating meal breaks for adults. An employer does not have to pay you for a break during which you are completely relieved of your job duties. An employer can require an employee to stay on the business premises during the break.


Only the following breaks are required:

  • Minors younger than 16 must be given a 30-minute break if they are employed five hours or more in a day.
  • All employees must be allowed toilet breaks when needed.
  • A union contract may require breaks and those requirements are enforced by the union.
  • Truck drivers should contact the Iowa Department of Transportation for regulations regarding breaks.
  • Certain other limited categories of workers, such as airline pilots, may be entitled to mandatory breaks under applicable regulations.

Special Leave

Unpaid Leave
Employees may be eligible to take unpaid, job-protected, leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Please refer to main United States page for further details on this Federal law.
Voting Leave

An employee who is eligible to vote in a public election in the state of Iowa may request time off from work with regular pay for a period not to exceed three hours for the purpose of voting.

Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Leave

Employees, excluding employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement that provides otherwise, shall be granted leave. An employee who is granted a leave of absence shall receive leave without loss of seniority, pay, vacation time, personal days, sick leave, insurance, and health coverage benefits, or earned overtime accumulation. The employee shall be compensated at the employee’s regular rate of pay for those regular work hours during which the employee is absent from work. An employee deemed to be on leave shall not be deemed to be an employee of the state for purposes of workers’ compensation or for purposes of the Iowa tort claims Act.

Domestic Violence Leave

Iowa Code § 915.23 allows the victim to serve as a witness in a criminal case; allows reasonable attorneys fees and court costs if an employee sues for violation of this law and prevails.

Pregnancy Discrimination Leave

An employer is required to provide unpaid leave to pregnant employees.

Last updated on: September 20th, 2018