March 26, 2020

Unemployment and COVID-19: Iowa




COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Employers 

Questions and Answers

Question 1: We may experience a shut-down or layoff in response to the coronavirus. What do we need to consider?

Answer: If your business is considering a major layoff or shut-down, Iowa Workforce Development’s Dislocated Worker Program staff can help guide you through what will be a difficult process for your company and a difficult time for your employees. Our Rapid Response Team can help ensure compliance with federal regulations that apply to mass layoffs, and can provide a variety of services for your employees.

Question 2: We may need to reduce work hours; what options do we have?

Answer: Employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of theCOVID-19 impact on the economy may apply for the Voluntary Shared Work Program. This program allows employers to seek an alternative to layoffs — retaining their trained employees by reducing their hours and wages that can be partially offset with unemployment insurance benefits.Visit learn more about its benefits for employers and employees, and how to apply.

Question 3: If an employee receives unemployment benefits as a result of a COVID-19 related business shutdown, will the employer’s unemployment taxes increase?

Answer: All unemployment claims filed and paid as a result of COVID-19 will have the charges waived for employers. This means that an employer’s Tax rate will not be affected.

Question 4: If an employee receives unemployment benefits as a result of a COVID-19-relatedbusiness shutdown, can the benefits be charged to the trust fund account?

Answer: Yes. All charges will be waived.

Question 5: Can an employer require a worker to stay home for the COVID-19’s incubation period?

Answer: Yes. The employer can require an employee to stay at home for the 14 day isolation period if they have traveled abroad or had contact with someone who visited an affected region. The employer should attempt to provide paid leave. If that is not available, your employee will be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

Question 6: I am an employer that needs to temporarily suspend operations or reduce hours for my employees to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. Would I be responsible for benefit charges for my employees who file unemployment?

Answer: No. Iowa Workforce Development will take the appropriate actions to waive the charges for those employers who are forced to do layoffs or reduce work hours for employees due to theCOVID-19.

Question 7: If I have 25 employees and need to do a temporary shutdown, do we need to file aWARN notice?

Answer: No. An employer only needs to file a WARN notice if they intend to shut down permanently.  In a temporary layoff, a WARN notice would not apply.

What if I have additional questions?

Should you have additional questions, please contact Iowa Workforce Development at1-888-848-7442. The Iowa Unemployment Insurance Employer Handbook can be found here: Iowa Workforce Development will not be able to provide legal or human resources advice. Please contact your legal or human resources representatives for those questions.

Where can I find additional information for businesses and employers on COVID-19?

U.S. Department of Labor: Department of Public Health: for Disease Control: for Disease Control Resources for Businesses and Employers: