Iowa News & Analysis

  • Iowa's employment laws don't apply in China, or do they?

    Multistate and multinational employers have a lot of hoops to jump through for their employees, including issues with the Internal Revenue Service, workers' compensation, the European Union's Greater Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) vs. state privacy rules, and even employee reactions to certain forms of vaccinations and issues relating to medical exemptions for vaccines. Other critical issues in the mix of determining how to manage multistate and multinational employees include how they are supervised, who makes decisions about their employment, and who has control: Is it the home office in Illinois, the employee's former home in Iowa, or his current job site in China? To clarify some of the chaos, the Iowa Supreme Court recently looked at whether the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA) applies to an employee who had been primarily living and working in China.

  • Please just give me a turkey: employee gift and tax considerations

    It's the time of year when employers are thinking of creative ways to thank employees and provide a bit of holiday cheer. The gift you choose, however, could have tax consequences for employees, which may not be a welcome prize from their perspective. For tax purposes, the key question is whether the gift will be considered a "de minimis fringe benefit." If so, the gift will not be included in employees' income, meaning they won't pay taxes for it.

  • Wellness programs are about more than health insurance costs

    When attorneys talk or write about wellness programs, it's almost always from a highly legal perspective. We could talk all day about the convoluted and overlapping requirements of the various laws that apply to such programs. But this month, we want to take a different approach and look at wellness programs from more of a business perspective.

  • Wrap up 2018 with new or revised handbook

    This year has brought an unusual number of changes in employment law. Various federal agencies got into the groove of aggressively undoing a lot of requirements their predecessors in the Obama administration had put into place. In addition, there has been an increasing number of employment-related requirements from state and local governments.

  • Agency Action

    DOL announces record amount in recovered wages. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced in October that its Wage and Hour Division (WHD) had recovered a record $304 million in wages owed to workers in fiscal year (FY) 2018. The WHD also announced it set a new record for compliance assistance events in FY 2018, holding 3,643 educational outreach events to help employers understand their responsibilities under the law. The DOL also announced an extension of the voluntary Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, which is a compliance initiative aimed at helping workers receive more back wages due in an expedited manner.

  • Yes, current employees can access personnel file in Iowa

    Q One of our employees asked to her see personnel file. We have never shared this information with employees, and I feel we shouldn't do it. Our COO, on the other hand, is open to being more transparent and sharing some information. What are the pros and cons of letting the employee see her personnel file?

  • Telecommuting GPS: mapping out the detours of working remotely

    Everybody loves telecommuting and has nothing but great things to say about it. According to many articles you read these days, it's clearly every employee's dream. But is telecommuting really the key to happiness for employees and employers? Maybe.

  • What to do when employee dies

    A death in the workplace can feel like a death in the family. Whether it's sudden or expected, the death of an employee can be traumatic for staff and management. The following tips may help you navigate the needs of your company and your employees during a difficult time.

  • How to claim paid family and medical leave tax credit

    The tax reform law passed late last year contained a little-noticed tax credit for employers that provide employees paid "family and medical" leave and meet certain other requirements. While the IRS hasn't finalized regulations pinning down the specifics of the new credit, it recently issued some helpful guidance. Let's take a look.

  • Paying for healthcare costs incurred by traveling employees

    Q One of our employees traveled to Mexico for business. She ended up getting the flu, and a doctor came see her at the hotel. Unfortunately, her health insurance doesn't cover treatment in Mexico. Since the illness occurred during business travel, do we need to cover the cost of the doctor?