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Areas of Practice: Unpaid Wages and Overtime

The Iowa Wage Payment Collection Act provides civil remedies for employees whose employers do not timely compensate them for their services. "Wages" include not only regular pay, but also vacation, holiday, sick leave, and severance payments which are due an employee under an agreement or policy of the employer, benefit payments under an agreement or policy of the employer, and expenses incurred and recoverable under a health benefit plan. As to whether an employer has a legal obligation to pay an employee for unused paid time off ("PTO"), the key is whether an agreement or policy providing for payment of these items exists. In most instances courts look to employee handbooks for such evidence.

Under Iowa law an employer also has a duty to reimburse employees for those expenses it has authorized them to incur.

The law further provides that deductions from an employee's paycheck can only occur under certain circumstances—for instance, by way of government-ordered garnishment or by the employee's written consent for a so-called "flex spending account."

As for overtime pay, the general rule is that unless an employee falls into certain "exempt" categories, he or she is owed compensation at 1.5 times his or her normal rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 per week. There are three typical categories of exempt job classifications, normally referred to as "executive," "professional," and "administrative". It is a relatively common error in the context of disputes over overtime pay for an employer to misclassify an employee as "exempt" from the overtime pay requirements.

Has your employer unjustly held your pay or failed to pay you for overtime? Contact us at LeGrant Law Firm, we can help!