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Iowa Leave Laws & Holidays

Paid Time Off (PTO), Vacation Days, FMLA, Sick Leave, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Bereavement Leave, Jury Duty Leave, Military Leave, and Voting Leave

Table Of Contents

Last updated on January 26, 2024.

Paid Time Off (PTO) in Iowa

Leave Quota 

Iowa law requires 0 vacation days. In Iowa, state law doesn’t require employers to provide vacation leave. 

Iowa labor laws and regulations do not cover vacation leave and pay, meaning employers are not legally obliged to provide employees with vacation days. Each company can decide its vacation policies. Employers can choose to provide vacation benefits as it is one of the most desired perks for employees. If an employer chooses to implement vacation leave, it must comply with its established policies or employment contract. 

State employees are entitled to some paid vacation. 


Accruals are not required in Iowa, but they are widely used by businesses. 

Employers are in general free to develop their system for vacation accrual, such as weekly, semimonthly, monthly basis, etc. It is usually based on the pay period. 

An employer may cap the amount of leave an employee may accrue to prevent an employee from accruing vacation over a certain number of hours. 

For new employees, the employer may set a reasonable period during which no vacation is accrued. 

Roll Over 

A Use-It-or-Lose-It policy is not prohibited. An employer is not obligated to let employees roll over unused leave into the following year. 

Employers in Iowa are free to adopt a “Use-It-or-Lose-It” vacation policy. A Use-It-or-Lose-It vacation policy means that an employer doesn’t have to pay employees for unused vacation leave at the end of the year. Consequently, an employee loses all remaining vacation days, unpaid. However, employees must be given the proper opportunity to take a vacation and must be made aware of the policy. 

Statutory Provisions Addressing Vacation Pay 

An employer must abide by the terms of its policy or employment contract if it decides to offer paid vacation benefits. Paid vacation benefits are considered “wages”. 

Payment of Accrued, Unused Vacation on Termination 

An employer’s policy or employment contract governs this issue. 

An employer may legally establish a policy or enter into a contract that prohibits employees from receiving payment for accrued vacation leave upon termination of employment. 

Employers may refuse to pay employees for accrued vacation leave upon separation or disqualify them from receiving payment for the leave if they fail to comply with specific requirements outlined in their contract (such as giving two weeks’ notice). 

If the employer’s established policy or employment contract is silent on the subject, the employer is not required to pay accrued vacation leave upon termination of employment. 

An employer is only required to pay a terminating employee for unused vacation if the employer has a contract, policy, or procedure in place to do so. 

Sick Leave in Iowa

Federal law requires up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected sick leave

Federal Laws – Leave Quota 

FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of leave for personal or family reasons

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles qualified employees to take up to 12 weeks off for personal medical reasons, to care for a close family member suffering from a severe illness, or for maternity or paternity leave.    

Employees qualify for FMLA benefits if they:  

  • have been working for their employer for at least 12 months (at least 25 hours per week) or 1,250 hours in the previous year 
  • work in a location where at least 50 people are employed by the company (in a 75-mile radius)  

Each employer can propose additional sick leave benefits that are greater than the minimum federal requirement. 

Iowa State Laws 

No additional sick leave laws in Iowa. 

Eligible employers in Iowa must follow FMLA, but there are no additional sick leave laws. Employers in Iowa aren’t required to provide either paid or unpaid sick leave. Still, they must comply with established policies in their employee handbook if they decide to implement one. 

Maternity, Paternity, FMLA in Iowa

Federal law 

FMLA provides 12 weeks of unpaid maternity or paternity leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers in the U.S. to provide employees with at least 12 workweeks of unpaid leave after the birth of a child or after the adoption of a child. Unless otherwise specified by an employer, this leave must be bordering.  

For more information about eligibility for FMLA benefits, look above under the section Sick Leave in Iowa: Federal Laws – Leave Quota

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is yet another federal law that protects pregnant employees. This applies to any employer in the U.S. with 15 or more workers. According to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), discrimination against pregnant people is prohibited in all areas of employment: hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, fringe benefits, training, leave, and health insurance. 

Additional State Laws in Iowa 

Companies with 4 or more employees must offer up to 8 weeks of unpaid leave

Iowa Pregnancy Disability Leave  

The Iowa Civil Rights Act mandates that employers with at least 4 employees give employees up to 8 weeks of unpaid leave for temporary disabilities related to pregnancy and childbirth. This Act also bans disability discrimination at workplaces. Iowa law mandates that disabilities related to childbirth or pregnancy be treated the same as any other temporary disability. 

An employee with a pregnancy-related disability is entitled to leave, if leave is not otherwise available (other time off, sick leave, or disability leave) or has been exhausted. 

Employees must give the same notice as they would for any other disability leave. 


Maternity leave in Iowa is unpaid. 

Bereavement Leave in Iowa (Funeral Leave)

Employers in Iowa aren’t required to give bereavement leave. 

Bereavement leave is taken by an employee in the event of the death of a close relative. 

No federal or Iowa law requires an employer to provide employees with paid or unpaid bereavement leave or any time off to attend an immediate family member’s funeral. In the event that an employer decides to provide bereavement leave for employees, they may be required to follow a bereavement policy they have in place. 


Bereavement leave in Iowa is unpaid. 

Jury Duty Leave in Iowa

Employers are required to provide employees with unpaid time off to perform their jury duties. 

Employees are entitled to job-protected, unpaid time off for jury duty, serving as a witness in court, responding to a subpoena, or representing themselves as a party in a legal proceeding. Notice requirements apply; employees may have to show their employer their jury summons to be given the necessary leave.  

An employer can never penalize an employee for missing work to attend jury duty. 


Employers are not obligated to pay an employee for jury duty leave. However, many employers pay employees because of the importance of jury service. 

Military Leave in Iowa

Employers must provide unpaid leave to eligible workers who are called to active duty. 

Employers in Iowa may not discriminate against individuals because they are members of the National Guard, organized reserves of the United States armed forces, or any member of the Civil Air Patrol. 

Employees who are members of the National Guard, organized reserves of the armed forces, or Civil Air Patrol are entitled to a leave of absence when ordered to temporary duty for any purpose. The leave may be with or without pay, at the employer’s discretion. An employee returning from duty is entitled to be reinstated to the same position, or a position of like seniority, status, and pay, as long as the employee provides evidence to the employer of satisfactory completion of the duty of service, and the employee is still qualified to perform the duties of the position. Temporary employees are not entitled to reinstatement. The period of absence must not affect the employee’s rights to vacation, sick leave, bonus, or other employment benefits. The law covers all public and private employers. 


In the private sector, military leave is unpaid (or paid at the employer’s discretion). 

Voting Leave in Iowa

Employees may be granted up to 3 hours of paid time off to vote

Employers in Iowa are required to provide eligible employees (who are entitled to vote) with a total time of 3 consecutive hours of paid leave, in addition to the employees’ non-working hours, within which to vote while polls are open. The exception is if an employee has three consecutive hours of non-working time while the polls are open; then the employer is not required to provide voting leave. 

Leave must be requested in writing before the elections.  

Employers may specify the hours in which an employee is allowed to be away from work. 


An employer pays a regular wage to an employee while he or she is taking time to vote.

Iowa State Holidays in 2024

Iowa law doesn’t require private employers to provide employees with paid or unpaid holiday leave. 

Private employers don’t have to provide paid or unpaid leave for holidays. Private employers in Iowa can require all employees to work holidays. However, the majority of employers in Indiana do provide at least seven paid holidays. Holiday pay is not mandated by law; private employers aren’t required to pay a worker premium pay for working on national holidays, which is generally “time-and-a-half” or 150 percent of their normal pay, unless the time worked benefits the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws. 

Iowa officially observes 9 state holidays.

A complete list of holidays celebrated in Iowa in 2024:
Holiday Observed in 2024 General Date
New Year’s Day 2024 Monday, January 1 January 1
Martin Luther King, Jr. Monday, January 15 3rd Monday in January
Memorial Day Monday, May 27 Last Monday in May
Independence Day Thursday, July 4 July 4
Labor Day Monday, September 2 1st Monday in September
Veterans Day Monday, November 11 November 11
Thanksgiving Day Thursday, November 28 4th Thursday of November
Day after Thanksgiving Friday, November 29 Friday after Thanksgiving
Christmas Day Wednesday, Dec. 25 December 25

Holidays that fall on Sunday are observed on Monday; holidays that fall on Saturday are observed on Friday.

Holiday Observed in 2025 General Date
New Year’s Day 2025 Wed., Jan 1, 2025 January 1
Martin Luther King, Jr. Monday, January 15 3rd Monday in January


  1. Iowa Worker Rights Manual, https://laborcenter.uiowa.edu/sites/laborcenter.uiowa.edu/files/wysiwyg_uploads/worker_rights_manual_2017_0.pdf
  2. Leave Laws by State and Municipality: 50-State Charts, https://www.xperthr.com/fifty-state-charts/leave-laws-by-state-and-municipality/20973/
  3. Iowa Payroll and Benefits Guide, https://www.papayaglobal.com/countrypedia/country/united-states-iowa/
  4. Helpside: Employee Leave Laws by State, https://www.helpside.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Employee-Leave-Laws-by-State-Final.pdf

Check out our Leave Laws page to learn more about laws in various countries.

All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about this region's leave laws. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, and may not be current. Please contact your local legal counsel to learn more about the leave laws in your country.

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