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Iowa Workers’ Compensation Laws

Iowa workers’ compensation laws Iowa workers’ compensation laws require most businesses with at least one employee to have workers’ compensation insurance.1
Workers’ comp insurance in Iowa gives your employees benefits to help them recover from a work-related injury or illness. Let’s say you own a clothing store in Des Moines. As one of your employees stocks the shelves, they fall and suffer a shoulder injury. Workers’ comp insurance can help cover their medical costs to treat the injury.
Get a workers’ compensation insurance quote today and learn how we can help your business.

Who Is Exempt Under Iowa Workers’ Compensation Law?

While Iowa code, or law, requires most employers in the state to carry workers’ compensation insurance, there are a few exceptions. Some of those exemptions include:2
  • Sole proprietors
  • Members of a limited liability company
  • Partners in a partnership
  • Corporate executive officers owning at least 25% of common stock in the business
  • Workers related to the business owner
  • Casual employees, whose work isn’t done for business purposes
  • Employees earning less than $1,500 annually
Certain industries are also exempt from the state’s requirement, like agriculture businesses.3
Be aware that exemptions to Iowa’s laws are complex. It’s a good idea to make sure you understand the state law, this will ensure your business complies with requirements.
Even if you’re exempt from having to carry workers’ compensation insurance, it can still be a good idea to have. Not having coverage can mean you’ll pay out of pocket to cover an employee’s work-related injury or illness. Your business can also face lawsuits from sick or injured workers.

How Does a Workers’ Compensation Claim Work?

Iowa workers’ compensation If your employee gets a work-related injury or illness, it’s important that you follow the steps to file a claim.
Your employees have 90 days to notify you of an injury or illness.4 You or your insurance company will then have to electronically file a “First Report of Injury or Illness” report within four days.5
Once a claim is filed, your injured or sick employee can receive workers’ compensation benefits.
To file workers’ compensation claims in Iowa, visit our workers’ comp claims page for more information.

Iowa Workers’ Compensation Limitations

Iowa’s workers’ compensation system does have statutes of limitations for benefits.
The two-year statute of limitations means that if your employee doesn’t receive weekly benefits within two years from the date of the incident, benefits may be denied. The same is true if they don’t file an application for arbitration within two years.6
The three-year statute of limitations means that if your employee has received workers’ compensation benefits, they have three years from the last payment to receive more benefits.7

What Does Iowa Workers’ Compensation Cover?

Iowa workers’ compensation insurance can help cover:
  • Accidents or injuries that happen on the job.
  • Illnesses from exposure to harmful chemicals or allergens while working.
  • Repetitive strain injuries that can take months or years to develop. These injuries are also known as repetitive stress injuries.

Iowa Workers’ Compensation Benefits

If one of your employees gets hurt or sick from their job, Iowa workers’ compensation benefits include:
  • Medical care, including travel expenses to get to and from appointments.8
  • Temporary total disability payments if they have a disability for more than three calendar days. If their disability lasts more than 14 days, they can receive payment for the three-day waiting period as well.9
  • Temporary partial disability payments if your employee returns to work, but in a lower paying role.10 This can help make up some of the difference in their earnings.
  • Missed wages and other healing period benefits if they need to take time off to recover.11
  • Permanent total disability payments if they can no longer work.12
  • Death benefits if your employee loses their life in a job-related incident. This can help cover burial costs and compensation for their spouse or dependents.13
  • Ongoing medical care if a work-related injury or illness needs long-term care, like physical therapy. In Iowa, you can choose the medical provider for your hurt or sick employee. They can apply to the state’s workers’ compensation commissioner if they want alternate care.14
Be aware that Iowa has a cap on weekly disability benefits. Employees can receive 80% of their weekly earnings with a maximum amount of $1,864.15

Who Oversees Iowa Work Comp Decisions?

Iowa work comp If you, your employees and your insurance company can’t settle workers’ compensation decisions, they go to the Compensation Commissioner’s Office. The Commissioner administers, regulates and enforces Iowa workers’ compensation laws.16
Visit the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation website to learn more about the Commissioner.

Get a Quote for Iowa Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Not all insurance companies are the same. Partnering with an insurance company that understands your business and the unique challenges you face can make all the difference. We have over 200 years of experience and are proud to serve small businesses like yours throughout the country. Our specialists are here to help protect you and your employees. Whether you have questions about workers’ compensation insurance in the State of Iowa or need help filing a claim, we’ve got your back.
16 Iowa Workforce Development, “Iowa Workers’ Compensation Questions & Answer Brochure”
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