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What Wage Laws Protect Workers in Iowa?

— June 28, 2022

All employers in Des Moines and other cities are required by law to keep complete and accurate pay records that are available for inspection.

Des Moines, IA – One of the most fundamental principles of labor law is that a worker needs to be paid appropriately for any work that they have done. Unfortunately, there are regular issues with wage theft and other illegal practices by employers that affect American workers. One of the best ways that any worker in Iowa can protect their interests is to gain a basic understanding of the protections that apply to them and how to report wage theft when it happens. 

Minimum wage laws

All workers in the United States are protected by federal and state minimum wage laws. Each worker must receive at least the federal minimum wage for any work performed, while individual states have the option of passing their own minimum wage laws if the amount of compensation is greater than the federal minimum wage. Iowa is one of several states that has set their minimum wage equal to the federal amount. 

Overtime laws

Hourly workers who spend more than forty hours working in a seven day consecutive period are entitled to pay at one and one half times their regular rate. Overtime laws do not apply to exempt workers, but there are only a few types of workers who can be counted as exempt such as independent contractors, and certain office workers or people in administrative roles. Each individual worker should review their status independently with an attorney if they have been told that they are exempt from overtime protections. 

Other kinds of wage theft

Aside from overtime and minimum wage laws, there are a number of other ways that wage theft happens. This includes illegal deductions from a worker’s paycheck, withheld tips, asking for additional work when an employee is off the clock, and excessively late wages. Employees who bring lawsuits for unpaid wages are entitled to receive the full amount they are owed, plus additional damages such as interest on late wages. Employers are required to correct these issues even when they have made an honest mistake. Workers also cannot be subjected to unfair treatment in retaliation for reporting wage theft issues or filing lawsuits. 

Record keeping requirements

Brightly colored paper clips with business papers, calculator, and pen; image by Alexander Stein, via, CC0.
Image by Alexander Stein, via, CC0.

All employers in Des Moines and other cities are required by law to keep complete and accurate pay records that are available for inspection. Workers should also regularly review their pay statements for accuracy. These records must contain information such as the worker’s identity, position in the company, pay rate, and overtime if applicable. A company that does not comply with these rules may be investigated and fined by a labor board. 

Iowa labor attorneys are available is a site that helps people find local employment lawyers. Anyone who needs assistance can use the directory to meet with a legal professional for specific advice about issues such as wage theft or sexual harassment. 

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