Employment Rights

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Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid


Iowa Legal Aid wants you to receive all your work benefits. Please talk with us if you believe your boss has treated you poorly. Call 1-800-532-1275. 

Protect Yourself: Keep track of your hours! Write down the hours that each person in your family works every day. Use this calendar! At the end of every workday, note the hour that each worker (including you, your spouse, and children) began to work, hours for meals, when they finish, and the time spent for every break. If at any time there is a dispute about your pay, a complete record of your hours will help your defense. 


Minimum wage: All adult workers must be paid the minimum wage. The minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Even if your contract says that you’ll be paid by acre or piece rate, you still must be paid the equivalent of the minimum wage for the hours you work each week.  


If you are a seasonal worker, you must be paid on time: If you are paid at least one time per week, then you must be paid within two days after the end of the work week, unless you agree to a different payday in writing.   

The boss has to give separate checks to every worker— even for the kids. 

Record of work hours: On most ranches or farms, the employer needs to give you a record of how many hours you worked each week, the number of goods, pieces, rows, boxes, or acres that you produced (if you are paid by piece rate), and how much you make per hour as well as per unit. 

The employer should keep a separate record for each worker. 


Deductions and contributions (taxes): Your employer must deduct taxes from your paycheck. Your employer cannot take any other money from your paycheck (whether to pay the rent, the electricity, gas, loans, etc.) unless you agree to it in writing. 


Work related injury: If you get hurt at work, tell your boss immediately.  Ask to be taken to the nearest doctor.  Failure to report an injury within 90 days may result in losing your right to workers’ compensation. 


You may qualify for weekly payments instead of a salary and medical care if you are injured or disabled at work. 


If your boss is subject to worker compensation laws of the state of Iowa, he must have workers’ compensation coverage for each employee. 


If you need medical attention or cannot work for more than a week due to a work-related injury, your employer’s insurance company must pay medical expenses and lost wages. 


You can still receive workers’ compensation even if you no longer live in Iowa. 

Last Review and Update: Mar 01, 2019
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