House File 20 - IntroducedA Bill ForAn Act 1requiring employers to provide employees with meal
2periods and rest periods and providing penalties.
3BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:
1   Section 1.  Section 84A.5, subsection 4, Code 2021, is
2amended to read as follows:
   34.  The division of labor services is responsible for the
4administration of the laws of this state under chapters 88,
588A, 88B, 89, 89A, 89B, 90A, 91, 91A, 91C, 91D, 91E, 91F, 92,
6and 94A, and sections 73A.21 and 85.68. The executive head of
7the division is the labor commissioner, appointed pursuant to
8section 91.2.
9   Sec. 2.  Section 91.4, subsection 2, Code 2021, is amended
10to read as follows:
   112.  The director of the department of workforce development,
12in consultation with the labor commissioner, shall, at the
13time provided by law, make an annual report to the governor
14setting forth in appropriate form the business and expense of
15the division of labor services for the preceding year, the
16number of remedial actions taken under chapter 89A, the number
17of disputes or violations processed by the division and the
18disposition of the disputes or violations, and other matters
19pertaining to the division which are of public interest,
20together with recommendations for change or amendment of the
21laws in this chapter and chapters 88, 88A, 88B, 89, 89A, 89B,
2290A, 91A, 91C, 91D, 91E, 91F, 92, and 94A, and section 85.68,
23and the recommendations, if any, shall be transmitted by the
24governor to the first general assembly in session after the
25report is filed.
26   Sec. 3.  NEW SECTION.  91F.1  Meal and rest periods —
27requirements.
  
   281.  As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise
29requires:
   30a.  “Commissioner” means the labor commissioner appointed
31pursuant to section 91.2.
   32b.  “Employee” means a natural person who is employed in this
33state for wages by an employer.
   34c.  “Employer” means a person, as defined in section 4.1,
35who in this state employs for wages a natural person. An
-1-1employer does not include a client, patient, customer, or
2other person who obtains professional services from a licensed
3person providing the services on a fee service basis or as an
4independent contractor.
   52.  An employer shall provide an employee with appropriate
6meal periods and appropriate rest periods.
   7a.  An appropriate meal period shall be a period of not less
8than thirty minutes during an employee’s work period in which
9an employee works at least seven hours. The meal period shall
10be taken between the second and fifth hours. If an employee
11works more than seven hours, the meal period shall be taken
12between the third and sixth hours.
   13b.  An appropriate rest period shall be a paid period of
14not less than ten minutes during every consecutive four-hour
15period of work taken by an employee approximately in the middle
16of each four-hour period. The rest period is in addition to a
17meal period, if applicable, and shall not be added to a meal
18period or deducted from the work period to reduce the overall
19length of the total work period.
   203.  An employer is not required to pay for a meal period
21if an employee is free from work duties during the employee’s
22entire meal period. An employee shall be paid for the meal
23period if any of the following occur:
   24a.  The employee is required or allowed to remain on duty.
   25b.  The employee is required to be on-call at the work
26premises or designated worksite in order to be available to
27return to duty even if the employee is not called back to duty.
   28c.  The employee is called back to duty during the employee’s
29meal period even though the employee is not usually on-call
30during the meal period.
31   Sec. 4.  NEW SECTION.  91F.2  Meal and rest periods —
32exemptions.
  
   331.  Meal and rest period requirements may be modified by the
34terms of a collective bargaining agreement if the collective
35bargaining agreement entered into by the employees prescribes
-2-1specific terms concerning meal periods and rest periods.
   22.  Meal and rest period requirements apply to hourly paid
3and salary-paid employees. Management or employees involved
4in agricultural jobs are not required to have breaks or meal
5breaks. For the purposes of this section, agricultural jobs do
6not include work in the production of seed, limited to removal
7of off-type plants and corn tassels and hand-pollinating during
8the months of June, July, and August by persons ages fourteen
9and older.
   103.  Meal period requirements may be waived if an employer
11shows that the ordinary nature and circumstance of the work
12prevented the employer from establishing and maintaining a
13regularly scheduled meal period. The factors that may be
14considered regarding the waiver of the requirements are limited
15to the following:
   16a.  The safety and health needs of employees, patients,
17clients, and the public.
   18b.  The lack of other employees available to provide relief
19to an employee.
   20c.  The cost involved in shutdown and startup of machinery in
21continuous operation of the industrial process.
   22d.  The intermittent and unpredictable workflow not
23controlled by the employer or employee.
   24e.  Unforeseeable equipment failures, emergencies, or acts
25of nature that require immediate and uninterrupted attention
26by an employee.
27   Sec. 5.  NEW SECTION.  91F.3  Civil penalties.
  
   281.  Any employer who violates the provisions of this chapter
29or the rules adopted pursuant to this chapter is subject to a
30civil penalty of not more than one hundred dollars for each
31violation. The commissioner may recover the civil penalty
32according to subsections 2 through 5. Any civil penalty
33recovered shall be deposited in the general fund of the state.
   342.  The commissioner may propose that an employer be assessed
35a civil penalty by serving the employer with notice of such
-3-1proposal in the same manner as an original notice is served
2under the rules of civil procedure. Upon service of such
3notice, the proposed assessment shall be treated as a contested
4case under chapter 17A. However, to remain a contested case,
5an employer must request a hearing within thirty days of being
6served.
   73.  If an employer does not request a hearing pursuant
8to subsection 2 or if the commissioner determines, after an
9appropriate hearing, that an employer is in violation of this
10chapter or the rules adopted pursuant to this chapter, the
11commissioner shall assess a civil penalty which is consistent
12with the provisions of subsection 1 and which is rendered with
13due consideration for the penalty amount in terms of the size
14of the employer’s business, the gravity of the violation,
15the good faith of the employer, and the history of previous
16violations.
   174.  An employer may seek judicial review of any assessment
18rendered under subsection 3 by instituting proceedings for
19judicial review pursuant to chapter 17A. However, such
20proceedings must be instituted in the district court of the
21county in which the violation or one of the violations occurred
22and within thirty days of the day on which the employer was
23notified that an assessment has been rendered. Also, an
24employer may be required, at the discretion of the district
25court and upon instituting such proceedings, to deposit the
26amount assessed with the clerk of the district court. Any
27moneys so deposited shall either be returned to the employer
28or be forwarded to the commissioner for deposit in the general
29fund of the state, depending on the outcome of the judicial
30review, including any appeal to the supreme court.
   315.  After the time for seeking judicial review has expired
32or after all judicial review has been exhausted and the
33commissioner’s assessment has been upheld, the commissioner
34shall request the attorney general to recover the assessed
35penalties in a civil action.
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1   Sec. 6.  NEW SECTION.  91F.4  Duties and authority of
2commissioner.
  
   31.  The commissioner shall provide further exemptions from
4the provisions in this chapter by rule when reasonable.
   52.  In order to carry out the purposes of this chapter, the
6commissioner or the commissioner’s designee, upon presenting
7appropriate credentials to the employer or agent of the
8employer, may do any of the following:
   9a.  Inspect employment records relating to meal and rest
10periods for employees.
   11b.  Interview an employer or employee or an agent of
12the employer or employee, during working hours or at other
13reasonable times.
   143.  The commissioner shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter
1517A to administer this chapter.
16EXPLANATION
17The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
18the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly.
   19This bill requires an employer to provide an employee with
20appropriate meal periods and appropriate rest periods.
   21The bill states that an appropriate meal period shall be not
22less than 30 minutes during an employee’s work period of at
23least seven hours. The meal period is to be taken between the
24second and fifth hours of the work or, if the employee works
25more than seven hours, between the third and sixth hours.
   26The bill states that an appropriate rest period shall be a
27paid period of not less than 10 minutes during every four-hour
28work period. The rest period is taken in the middle of the work
29period. The rest period is in addition to the meal period and
30cannot be added to the meal period or deducted from the work
31period to reduce the overall length of the total work period.
   32The bill defines an “employee” as a natural person who is
33employed in this state for wages by an employer. An “employer”
34is defined as a person, as defined in Code section 4.1, who
35employs a natural person for wages.
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   1The bill provides that an employer is not required to pay for
2a meal period if an employee is free from work duties during
3the employee’s entire meal period.
   4The bill allows three exemptions to the meal and rest period
5requirements. The first exemption is if the meal and rest
6period requirements are modified by the terms of a collective
7bargaining agreement. However, the exemption is valid only
8if the collective bargaining agreement entered into by the
9employees prescribes specific terms concerning meal periods and
10rest periods.
   11The second exemption states that meal and rest period
12requirements apply to hourly paid and salary-paid employees.
13However, management or employees involved in certain
14agricultural jobs are not required to have breaks or meal
15breaks.
   16The third exemption is if an employer shows that the ordinary
17nature and circumstance of the work prevented the employer from
18establishing and maintaining a regular scheduled meal period.
   19The bill provides civil penalties for violating the new
20Code chapter. An employer who violates the provisions shall
21be subject to a penalty of up to $100 for each violation. The
22labor commissioner may recover the penalties under Code chapter
2317A contested case procedures. Any penalties recovered shall
24be deposited in the general fund of the state.
   25The commissioner may propose that an employer be assessed a
26penalty by serving the employer with notice of a penalty in the
27same manner as an original notice is served under the rules of
28civil procedure.
   29The bill provides the labor commissioner with the authority
30to provide further exemptions from the requirements of the bill
31by rule when reasonable. Also, the labor commissioner or the
32commissioner’s designee may inspect employment records relating
33to rest periods for employees and interview an employer or
34employee or an agent of the employer or employee, during
35working hours or at other reasonable times.
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