Iowa Workforce Development & Updates to Leave Policy for Employees Impacted by COVID-19

By March 31, 2020May 1st, 2020COVID-19

In light of the CARES Act, the Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) implemented updates to its leave policy for filing unemployment insurance benefits. Effective immediately, employees who are or will be laid off, or are unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19, will no longer be required to use all paid leave prior to being eligible for benefits. This change is not retroactive and claims will not be backdated prior to the week of March 29, 2020 for any new or existing claims.

The state’s policy typically required claimants to use all available paid leave prior to filing for benefits and was necessary to help sustain the Iowa Unemployment Trust Fund, which is funded entirely by employers doing business in Iowa and is the source of all benefit payments to claimants.  The CARES Act provided a significant source of additional funding for claimants and this policy change reflects the evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act benefit programs will expand the group of individuals eligible for benefits to include the self-employed, independent contractors, nonprofit employees, gig economy workers, as well as workers who have exhausted their benefits. The IWD will continue to share more information as it is received from the Department of Labor and will post updates on their website  at

Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any these updates. You can also review these updates on our website at too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

Mike Parker

Author Mike Parker

Mike has 30 years of experience in unemployment cost control management, and has been with Thomas & Company for 25 years. He is the primary contact with state agencies building strong relationships, lobbying for opportunities that increase quality of service and efficiencies, and insuring compliance with state specific requirements. He works with the client service team, answering technical questions related to the unemployment insurance programs administered by the individual states and oversees the processes associated with wage audits and fraudulent claim inquiries. Mike is a member of the SIDES Operations Committee and currently sits on four Operations Committee subcommittees.

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