Iowa Workforce Development updates leave policy for employees impacted by COVID-19 layoffs

Iowa Workforce Development Communications
For Immediate Release
Date: March 30, 2020
Contact: Molly Elder
Telephone: 515-725-4116


Iowa Workforce Development updates leave policy for employees impacted by COVID-19 layoffs 

DES MOINES - Iowa Workforce Development has implemented updates to its leave policy for filing unemployment insurance benefits following the enactment of the CARES Act. Effective immediately, employees who are or will be laid off, or are unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19, will no longer be required to use all paid leave prior to being eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.  This change is not retroactive and claims will not be backdated prior to the week of March 29, 2020, for new or existing claims by individuals who work for employers. 

The policy requiring claimants to use all available paid leave prior to filing for unemployment benefits was necessary to help sustain the Iowa Unemployment Trust Fund, which is funded entirely by employers doing business in Iowa and is the source of all benefit payments to claimants.  The enactment of the CARES Act has provided a significant source of additional funding for claimants, and this policy change reflects the evolving situation. 

The CARES Act benefit programs will expand the group of people eligible for unemployment benefits to include the self-employed, independent contractors, nonprofit employees, and gig economy workers as well as workers who have exhausted their benefits. Iowa Workforce Development will continue to share more information as guidance from the Department of Labor is received.  

Due to the complexity of program requirements, this process will take time.  As the programs become available, IWD will post updates on our website, and share through media outlets and social media.  We appreciate your patience as we work through the details.

For updates about COVID-19-related information, please visit