The Iowa Wage Payment Collection Act protects employees from employers who fail to pay wages owed to an employee. Wages, as defined in the act, can encompass more than just compensation owed for labor or services. It can also include vacation, holiday, sick leave, and severance payments which are due an employee under an agreement or policy of the employer, benefit payments under an agreement or policy of the employer, and expenses incurred and recoverable under a health benefit plan. The key is whether an agreement or policy providing for payment of these items exists. In most instances the agreement or policy will be contained in an employee handbook. It can, however, take the form of an unwritten policy.
An employer is required to pay all wages earned no later than the next payday for the pay period in which the wages were earned. Employees paid on a commission basis, however, may have to wait up to thirty days from the date of termination to get their final paycheck.
An employee who has a claim against an employer for wages may bring an action in an Iowa district court or, if the claim is less than $5,000.00, through the Iowa Department of Labor. A claim form for the Iowa Department of Labor can be found here and the steps the Department follows can be found here. Claims for wages must be brought within two years after the wages were earned.