Iowa Updates Leave Policy for Employees Impacted by COVID-19 Layoffs

Date: March 30, 2020

Employees No Longer Required to Use All Paid Leave

Iowa Workforce Development has implemented updates to its leave policy for filing unemployment insurance benefits following the enactment of the CARES Act. 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 unemployment insurance benefits.  This change is not retroactive and claims will not be backdated prior to the week of March 29, 2020, for new or existing claims by individuals who work for employers. 

The policy requiring claimants to use all available paid leave before filing for unemployment benefits 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 enactment of the CARES Act has provided a significant source of additional funding, and this policy change reflects the evolving situation. 

The CARES Act benefit programs will expand the group of people eligible for unemployment benefits to include the self-employed, independent contractors, nonprofit employees, and gig economy workers as well as workers who have exhausted their benefits. Iowa Workforce Development will continue to share more information as guidance from the Department of Labor is received.  

Due to the complexity of program requirements, this process will take time.  As the programs become available, IWD will post updates on our website, and share through media outlets and social media.  We appreciate your patience as we work through the details.

For updates about COVID-19-related information, please click here


For the latest information on COVID19 Iowa specific business resources log into the Iowa Economic Development Authority website HERE

For the latest information for COVID19 unemployment resources log into the Iowa Workforce Development website HERE


March 26 – Gov. Reynolds signs new proclamation continuing State Public Health Emergency Declaration 

Gov. Reynolds signed a new proclamation continuing the State Public Health Emergency Declaration, suspending elective and nonessential medical and dental procedures, extending and expanding retail business closures, ordering health care facilities and nursing homes to engage in advanced health care screenings, and removing additional legal barriers to ensure a continued strong response to this disaster. 

The state of public health disaster emergency shall expire on April 16, 2020, at 11:59 p.m., unless sooner terminated or extended by the governor.


Read the full text of the proclamation here.


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