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Private and Public Sector Employees:

Special provisions for pregnancy and related issues:

  • Iowa makes some special provisions for employees of all sectors. These pertain to pregnancy, miscarriage, childbirth, and recovery from any of these conditions.
  • All of those conditions (pregnancy, miscarriage, childbirth, and recovery there from) are counted as "temporary disabilities" for all job purposes. Any health or temporary disability insurance, or sick leave plan must treat the aforementioned conditions as temporary disabilities in connection with any work situation.
  • Length of leave, availability of extensions, and payment under an insurance or sick leave plan will be determined by "written and unwritten employment policies and practices."
  • In work situations where leave or "sufficient leave" is not available, employees may be eligible for up to eight weeks of leave for pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, provided it is medically necessary.
  • An employee eligible for leave may need to provide adequate notice of her intent to take leave, as well as medical certification of the need to take it.
  • The Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 provides broader coverage for pregnant employees than the federal FMLA does. For example, the Iowa laws provide coverage for any employee who works for an employer who has at least four employees.
  • There is no minimum amount of service that has to be completed before leave can be taken for pregnancy.
  • The only aspect of the Iowa coverage that is more narrow than the federal FMLA is the fact that minimum leave requirements can only be taken for pregnancy or related conditions. The leave is also not applicable for the purpose of temporarily caring for an immediate family member.

Public Sector Employees:

This sector includes:

State employees

Iowa Leave laws (additional to FMLA) for state employees:

Family Leave

  • The Iowa state employee family leave rules are similar to the federal FMLA.
  • In Iowa, "immediate family" is defined as a "the employee's spouse, parent, son, or daughter, as defined in the Family and Medical Leave Act".
  • Some labor unions and collective bargaining agreements have different, broader definitions of "immediate family." These differences are listed in a later section.

Emergency or Funeral Leave

  • Up to 40 hours of accrued sick leave per year may be used for a death in the employee's family and the care of members of the "immediate family".
  • There are sometimes different rules applicable to employees with union contracts. For example, some union contracts allow more sick leave to be used.
  • Sometimes union contracts allow an employee a day of paid sick leave if he or she is serving as a pallbearer.

Length of Leave

  • Employees are not eligible for more than twelve weeks of state FMLA leave in one fiscal year.
  • Employees may be eligible for twelve months of unpaid leave at the discretion of the state "appointing authority".
  • After the first twelve months of unpaid leave, "leave without pay" may be extended for up to twelve more months only upon written request.

Exhaustion of Paid Leave

  • If state FMLA leave is taken for the birth/adoption/foster placement of a child; care of a child under 18 years of age, or older if not capable of self-care; or care of a parent with a serious medical condition, the employee must have used all paid vacation before unpaid leave can begin.
  • If an employee takes FMLA leave for serious personal illness, all paid sick leave and paid vacation time must be used up first before using unpaid leave.
  • If an employee has been on maternity leave, but has not been granted medical clearance to return to work, she must use all paid sick leave and paid vacation time before taking unpaid leave.
  • If an employee has been medically released to return to work, the employee can no longer use paid sick leave. But, the employee may be able to use leave as described in the earlier Emergency or Funeral Leave section.

Union Variations

  • There are some special variations used by unions and collective bargaining agreements that differ from state code in terms of the definition of "immediate family" and what constitutes emergency or funeral leave.
  • The term "immediate family" can be expanded to include foster and step relatives; brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and first cousins; corresponding relatives of the employee's spouse; and other persons who reside in the employee's household.
  • State employee unions may also specify different amounts of time that paid sick leave can be used for emergency or funeral leave. The Iowa state code allows five days total, but some unions may use paid sick leave for a death in the family (not to exceed three days), for serving as a pallbearer (one day), or to take care of a family emergency defined as an ill or injured member of the employee's family (no more than five days).
  • Leave variations are not uniform across all unions. Employees should be sure to check their union's provisions or their collective bargaining agreement to find out exactly what applies to their situation.
Laws of FMLA in Iowa

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