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Workers' Compensation for Iowa Businesses
What are the legal requirements for workers’ comp in Iowa?
Iowa employees are covered by the Iowa workers’ compensation law under most employment relationships. Correspondingly, most business owners required by law to purchase workers’ compensation liability insurance. A procedure exists that permits employers to apply to the Iowa Insurance Commissioner to become certified to self-insured rather than purchase insurance.
Criminal and civil penalties can be imposed on Iowa business owners who violate the mandatory insurance law. Employers who operate without workers’ comp insurance illegally lose the exclusive remedy protection of the workers’ compensation law and are liable to the employee for the full measure of damages available under tort law if an injured employee sues the employer in court.
Sole proprietors, partners in a partnership, and members of a limited liability company that have a status other than of an employee and are not covered by Iowa workers’ compensation law. However, they may, elect to be covered by purchasing insurance that expressly covers them. Persons who are bona fide independent contractors are not employees. However, a contract that designates a person to be an independent contractor does not make the person an independent contractor if the person functions as an employee. 85.18 IA Code.
Iowa law contains a number of exemptions that make specified employees and their employers exempt from workers’ compensation coverage (85.1 IA Code). Persons eligible to receive compensation under federal law are exempt. In general, limited exemptions exist for persons employed in agriculture or by a relative. Limited exemptions exist when the employment is casual and is not performed for purposes of the employer’s trade or business or if the employee’s services are performed in or about the employer’s dwelling. Some of the exemptions apply only if the employee’s earnings from the employer are less than $1,500 annually. Business owners may elect to cover some classes of exempt employees by purchasing an insurance policy the specifically includes those employees. Specific guidance on exemptions and electing coverage can be obtained from a Workers’ Compensation Compliance Administrator.
What types of injuries are covered with workers’ comp insurance in Iowa?
Iowa state law determines what types of injuries are covered by workers’ comp insurance, but there are general guidelines that can help you understand what typically qualifies for a workers’ comp claim.
- No intentional self-harm, harm that results from drug or alcohol use, or fighting.
- Must fall within the “course and scope” of employment. If you get into a fender bender on your way home from work after you’ve clocked out for the day, that’s unlikely to qualify.
- Long-term occupational injuries, including back strain from repetitive motion. When you think of work-related injuries, you probably think of one-time events — but damage can occur over a long period of time. As long as the injury or illness is clearly associated with the employee’s work responsibilities, it may be eligible.
*2017 business stats provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
number of Iowa residents employed by small businesses
number of workplace injuries
annual bushels of corn produced
percentage energy from wind power
gallons of Blue Bunny ice cream produced annually
Iowa Businesses We Cover with Workers' Comp Insurance
Food & Beverage
Bars, Bistros, Cafeterias/Buffets, Candy Stores, Caterers, Coffee Shops, Doughnut Shops, Fast Casual, Fast Food, Fine Dining, Health Supplement Stores, Juice Shops, Tea Houses, Taverns and NightclubsGet a Free Quote
Data Processing, Ecommerce, Hosting, Graphic Design, Network Installation/Repair, Office Machine Installation/Repair, Programming, Strategy & Management Consulting Services, and Software/Web Development (includes SOLOpreneuers!)Get a Free Quote
Athlete/Actor/Entertainer Agents, Court Reporters, Lawyers & Attorneys at Law, Notaries and TranscriptionGet a Free Quote
Bakeries, Beer/Wine/Liquor Stores, Butcher/Meat Markets, Convenience Stores/Gas Stations, Discount Stores, Fish, Seafood, Fruit & Vegetable Markets, Grocery Stores, Laundromats, Pet Stores, Pharmacies/Drug Stores, Specialty Food StoresGet a Free Quote
Computer Training, Cosmetology/Barber Schools, Exam Preparation/Tutoring, Fine Art Schools, Language Schools, Libraries/Archives, Management Training, Professional Training, & Translation/Interpretation ServicesGet a Free Quote
Microbreweries (less than 15,000 barrels produced per year) & Wine Making (no growing or production of grapes/fruit)Get a Free Quote
Barber Shops/Salons, Cemeteries/Mausoleums, Crematoriums, Funeral Homes, Interior Design, Pet Kennels/Groomers, Photography/Photofinishing, Gyms, Nail Salons, Self-Storage, Tanning Salons, Tattoo/Piercing, and Wedding/Event PlannersGet a Free Quote
Bridal Stores, Clothing Stores, Dry Cleaners, Formal Wear/Costume Rentals, Luggage & Leather Goods Stores, Shoe Retail/Repair, and Tailor ShopsGet a Free Quote
Personal Product Retail
Art Galleries/Stores, Auto Parts, Beauty/Cosmetics, Bike Stores, Bookstores, Camera/Photo Supplies, Cell Phone Retail/Repair, Computer Stores, Jewelry Stores, Musical Instruments, Sporting Goods , Tobacco/Vaping & Video GamesGet a Free Quote
Blood Banks, Dental Labs, Dentists/Orthodontists, GP/Medical Specialists, Kidney Dialysis Centers, Medical Diagnostics & Testing, and VeterinariansGet a Free Quote
Architecture & Engineering Services
Architects & Drafting, Engineering, Surveyors, & Window Treatment Stores (we do not cover construction contractors or trucking companies)Get a Free Quote
Accounting, Auditors, Banks/Credit Unions, Bookkeeping, Collection Agencies, Financial Advisors/Trust Companies, Mortgage & Loan Brokers, Payroll Services, Tax Preparation, Title & Title InsuranceGet a Free Quote
Scientific Research & Development/Consulting, Technical Consulting, & Environmental ConsultingGet a Free Quote
Office, Home, & Garden
Hearing Aid Stores, Hobby/Craft/Art Stores, Gift/Novelty Stores, Florists, Floor Covering Stores, Mailing/Packaging Stores, Models/Toy/Games, Office Supplies, Optical Stores, Paint/Wallpaper Stores, Perfume Stores, Plumbing & TaxidermistsGet a Free Quote
Acupuncture, Chiropractors, Mental Health Practitioners, and Physical & Occupational TherapyGet a Free Quote
Explore commonly asked questions about business type, industry and state.
How is Workers' Compensation related to payroll? What do I do when I hire, give raises or fire employees?