Finding, Hiring, and Managing Employees in Iowa

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Making the leap to hiring employees is a huge step for your businesses. There are plenty of different things to consider including how many hours they should work, wages, and culture of your business. Below are items to consider and steps that must be taken when hiring employees.

If you will be hiring employees in Iowa, you will more than likely need to pay into Unemployment Insurance (UI) to the Iowa Workforce Development. So, what is UI and why is it important?

The Iowa Employment Security Law, governing legislation for the state’s UI Program, benefits both the state and its citizens. It provides benefit payments to qualified individuals who are temporarily unemployed to help them meet expenses that cannot be delayed. Maintaining the purchasing power of jobless individuals also has a stabilizing influence on the state’s economy.

The law restricts payment of UI benefits to only those who are unemployed or working reduced hours through no fault of their own.  They must be able to work, available for work, and actively searching for work.

Employers do not make any deductions from the employee’s paycheck to fund UI benefits. Benefits are paid from a fund exclusively supported by a payroll tax levied on Iowa employers. The tax varies for employers and is primarily dependent on two factors:

  • How the employer’s employment history compares to that of all other employers who are participating in the UI program

  • Overall fiscal condition of the UI Trust Fund

The Iowa law stipulates that UI taxes may be collected from employers under eight different tax rate tables, and each tax rate table has 21 rate brackets (or ranks). Rates vary from 0.000% to 9.000% on table 1, and from 0.000% to 7.000% on table 8. This means table 1 collects the most UI tax and table 8 collects the least UI tax.

The tables were established to help maintain the stability of the UI Trust Fund. As such, a formula in the law mandates movement to a table that collects more revenue when the balance in the UI fund is low and movement to a table collecting less revenue when the balance is high.

The table effective for any given year is applicable to all participating employers. The table in effect for all private employers for 2020 is Table 7. Rate tables are updated annually. During November, a Notice of Tax Rate is mailed to each employer indicating the tax rate to be used for the coming year.

An account for each employer covered by the Iowa Employment Security law is maintained by the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Division. Each employer is assigned an employer account number at the time the employer’s liability status is established. This number should appear on all correspondence and forms submitted by the employer to Iowa Workforce Development (IWD). New myIowaUI accounts are created online.

Classifying Workers

Unsure if who you are hiring would be considered an employee or independent contractor? When determining whether the person providing service is an employee or an independent contractor, all information that provides evidence of the degree of control and independence must be considered.

  • The right to control the work to be done and how it will be done is one of the main factors considered.

  • The right to discharge a worker at will and without cause is also strong evidence of the right of direction and control.

Intentional misclassification of workers is illegal, so make sure you spend the time to understand how to best classify your employees.

Reporting New & Rehired Workers

Federal and State law require employers to report newly hired and rehired employees to a central registry. The Centralized Employee Registry (CER) is a computer database keeping track of newly hired and rehired employees and contractors in Iowa. The information provided to the CER helps streamline the process of withholding child support payments from the income of employees and contractors who need to provide payments. For additional information and instructions on how to report new hire information in Iowa, please visit the CER website.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about setting up your online store? You should consider checking out our Resource Navigator. It houses the contact information of 400 of our most helpful partners from across the state who provide free to low-cost assistance to Iowa entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Q: Where do I find employees to hire?

A: There are many ways to find employees. First, you could advertise on online platforms, like IndeedMonster, and LinkedIn. Websites like these can connect you with a large job seeker pool quickly. You can also post job offers on social media websites, as well as find freelancers on websites like Fiverr. You can also use word of mouth and newspaper ads as well.

Q: What’s the difference between independent contractors and employees?

A: The difference depends on what the individual will be doing for you, how they will be doing it, and how much control you have over the output of their work. The IRS has an excellent guide that defines these differences.

Q: When should I consider hiring help?

A: This depends entirely on your workload and your skill set. If you become so swamped with orders and jobs, it may make sense to hire out help after a while. If you don’t have a certain skill set required to run the business, hiring out employees and/or contractors from the start may be your only option.

NOTICE: The information included on this website is to be used only as a guide. It is not intended to cover all provisions of the law or every taxpayer's specific circumstances.


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