HR Management & Compliance

Changes to Iowa unemployment benefits coming July 1

by Tara Z. Hall

Several changes related to unemployment benefits in Iowa are set to take effect July 1. The changes are seen as beneficial to employers.

Unemployment and incarceration

An amendment to the Iowa Employment Security Act (IESA) adds a new subsection to the Iowa Code that provides that an employee will be disqualified from receiving benefits if he misses work because of incarceration unless the following four factors are satisfied:

  1. Prior to the absence, the employee notifies the employer of an absence resulting from incarceration.
  2. No criminal charges related to the incarceration are filed against the employee, all criminal charges related to the incarceration are dismissed, or the employee is found not guilty of all criminal charges related to the incarceration.
  3.  The employee reports to the employer within two workdays of his release from incarceration and offers to perform services for the employer.
  4. The employer rejects the employee’s offer of services.

Employees who are disqualified from receiving benefits will continue to be disqualified until they have been paid wages for insured work equal to 10 times their weekly benefit amount, provided they are otherwise eligible.

Supplemental part-time employment

In cases involving supplemental part-time employees, wages paid following a disqualifying separation for a voluntary quit or misconduct will not be considered wages credited to employees until they meet the conditions for requalification set forth in the IESA or until a period of disqualification has elapsed. The change provides more certainty and lowers liability for unemployment benefits in cases involving supplemental part-time employment.

Requalification for unemployment benefits

Iowa has had the lowest qualifying amount for unemployment benefits in the country, but a change increases the amount required for an employee to qualify for a second year of unemployment benefits. The amount increased from $250 to eight times an employee’s weekly benefit amount.

For more information on the changes to unemployment benefits in Iowa, see the June issue of Iowa Employment Law Letter.

Tara Z. Hall is an attorney with Davis Brown Law Firm in Des Moines, Iowa. She can be reached at

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