Iowa Overtime and Meal & Rest Break Laws for Nurses by State

The Iowa legislature has not enacted state-level guidelines with respect to mandatory overtime for nurses. In any situation in which a state has not enacted its own employment and labor law guidelines, employees are covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This Act provides that employers must pay employees time and one-half for working longer than 40 hour in one workweek. A workweek is described as seven consecutive days, including weekends. Employers are not required to provide overtime pay for individual days in which the employee works past eight hours as long as the total for the week does not exceed 40 hours. Employers must maintain a consistent workweek schedule and may not manipulate the start and end dates of the workweek in order to avoid paying overtime.

Iowa also has not enacted laws with respect to meal and rest breaks. Therefore, the FLSA fills in the gaps with respect to labor rights. Unfortunately, the FLSA does not provide for mandatory paid rest breaks nor does it require employers to provide meal breaks for workers. If an employer agrees to provide short rest breaks, usually no longer than 20 minutes, the breaks should be paid. Meal breaks typically last 30 minutes or longer and employers are under no duty to pay employees for breaks to eat meals. In addition, depending on the nature of the job, employers are within their rights to require employees to eat while on duty.

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