Dems: Labor & Business Relations – week of Feb. 15, 2016

February 22, 2016

SF 313 –Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnancy in the Workplace

SF 398 – Wage Payment Collection

SF 2097 –Paid Leave for Prenatal Appointments

SF 2193/SSB 3071 — Equal Pay

SF 2194/SF 2129 — PERB Administrative Law Judges Merit System



SF 313 requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee based on medical conditions related to the employee’s pregnancy or childbirth if the employee requests reasonable accommodations with the advice of their health care provider. In committee, an amendment was adopted that strikes everything and replaces the bill. As amended, the bill:

  • Defines “adverse action” and “undue hardship” to the entire Iowa Civil Rights chapter. These definitions are from the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).
  • An employer must provide an employee a private, secure and sanitary space and break time to express breast milk for a nursing child.
  • Defines “reasonable accommodation” and “related medical condition.”
  • Prohibits an employer from denying a reasonable accommodation in the terms, conditions or privileges of employee to a job applicant or employee based on the employee’s or applicant’s pregnancy, childbirth or related medical condition if the employee or applicant requests a reasonable accommodation, unless the employer can demonstrate that providing the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer’s program, enterprise or business.
  • It would be an unfair or discriminatory practice for an employer to retaliate against an employee who requests the reasonable accommodation.
  • An employer must engage in a good-faith and interactive process with the employee to determine effective reasonable accommodations.
  • The employer must have the burden of proving undue hardship.
  • Does not require an employer to create additional jobs or provide additional work hours that the employer would not otherwise have created or provided unless the employer does so (or would do so) to accommodate another class of employees that requests such accommodation.
  • Employer is required to post written notice of these rights.
  • The Civil Rights Commission must develop courses of instruction and conduct ongoing public education efforts.
  • [2/17: 7-4, party-line]


SF 398 requires the Labor Commissioner to employ investigators to enforce the Wage Payment Collection Chapter 91A. The bill requires the Labor Commissioner to establish a statewide, toll-free hotline to receive reports of wage violations. The bill requires the Commissioner to employ a Wage Theft Compliance Assistance Coordinator. The bill creates a standing appropriation from the General Fund to the Division of Labor Services of $175,000 for enforcement of wage theft provisions. As amended in committee, the bill requires all employers to provide written notification at the time of hiring of wages and regular paydays designated by the employer. An employer must notify employees whose wages are determined based on a task, piece, mile or load basis in writing about the method used to calculate wages and when the wages are earned by the employees. Also, the employer will notify, at least one pay period prior to the initiation of any changes, employees of changes that would reduce wages or alter the regular payday. The notice must be in writing or posted at a place where the employee notices are routinely posted.

[2/15: short form]


SF 2097 provides that an employee is entitled to take paid leave of at least 40 hours to attend to prenatal appointments during a calendar year. The compensation and benefits for the leave are to be the same as the employee normally earns working regular hours. The bill permits an employer to require that an employee provide documentation from a licensed health care professional that such leave was taken for the purpose of attending to a prenatal appointment. An employer is a person who employs 50 or more people in this state. The paid leave for prenatal appointments is in addition to any other paid sick leave or other leave offered by an employer. The bill prohibits an employer from discharging or discriminating against an employee if the employee has filed a complaint alleging a violation of the bill. The Labor Commissioner is responsible for investigating the complaints. An employer who violates the bill is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $500 for each violation. An amendment adopted in committee:

  • Further defines an employee as someone who works at least 12 hours a week.
  • Provides for a definition of a primary care provider, same as 252E.1.
  • Strikes the “at least 40 hours” requirement and allows for time depending on each individual employee’s pregnancy and recommendation by the primary care provider.
  • An employee will be required to show documentation for each prenatal appointment.
  • [2/17: 8-3 (Bertrand, Costello, Whitver “no”)]


SF 2193/SSB 3071 relates to wage discrimination under the Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 and establishes an Equal Pay Task Force. It is already illegal under Iowa law (and federal law) to pay a woman less than man because of her gender. The bill seeks to strengthen our equal pay laws and close loopholes employers may use to discriminate against women regarding pay. The bill amends Iowa Code 216.6A, regarding wage discrimination in employment. Chapter 216.6A states that it is illegal to pay different rates to employees based on age, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion or disability. There are three distinctive ways Senate Study 3071 strengthens Iowa law and then creates an Equal Pay Taskforce:

  • Disclosure of pay (page 1, lines 3-17):
    • Employer cannot prohibit an employee from disclosing their own wages and compensation.
    • Employer cannot prohibit an employee from inquiring or sharing information about another employee’s wages and compensation.
    • Employer cannot discriminate or retaliate against an employee for disclosing, discussing, sharing or inquiring about their own or another employee’s wages and compensation.
  • Salary history and minimum pay (page 1, line 18-page 2, line 7):
    • Employer cannot seek salary history information from a job applicant. Does not prohibit employer from asking what salary rate the applicant is seeking.
    • Employer cannot release salary history as part of an interview or hiring process without a written authorization from a current or former employee.
    • Employer must provide a minimum pay rate in any job posting.
    • Employer cannot pay a newly hired employee less than this posted minimum pay rate.
  • Narrowing the “any other factor” used by employers for pay differential (page 2, line 8-page 3, line3):
    • Requires an employer’s affirmative defense of a pay differential between employees, based on anything other than seniority, a merit system, or a measure of quality and quantity of production, to be based on a “bona fide” factor relating to education, training or experience. The main change to the law is the “bona fide” factor instead of the blanket “any other factor” that is currently in the law.
    • Requires “bona fide” factor to be consistent with a “business necessity,” an overriding business purpose.
  • Equal Pay Task Force (page 3, line 4-page 5, line 1):
    • Creates an equal pay task force to study the extent of wage disparities, factors that cause disparities, consequences on the economy and affected families, and action likely to lead to elimination of these disparities.
    • Task force reports to the Governor and Legislature are due by December 22, 2017.
    • Membership:
      • Director of Civil Rights Commission (Civil Rights Commission is responsible for staffing)
      • Director of Department to Human Rights
      • Iowa Workforce Development—Labor Market Information Division employee
      • Business representative
      • Labor representative
      • Two representatives from organizations working to eliminate pay disparities
      • Two representatives from academia who research pay disparities
      • Four ex-officio (non-voting) legislators

[2/15: 7-4, party-line]


SF 2194/SF 2129 makes the administrative law judges (ALJs) appointed or employed by the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) subject to the merit system. Currently, these ALJs are at-will and do not have the same protections as other ALJs in state government. For example, ALJs in the Department of Inspection & Appeals are covered by the merit system (10A.801). Since the ALJs at PERB hear cases regarding grievances or discipline of merit employees, those types of cases involving PERB’s ALJs will be heard by an administrative law judge employed by the Department of Inspections & Appeals.

[2/15: short form]

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