Iowa Workforce Development - Work With Us®
The Employer’s Council of Iowa is a group of employers who work in partnership with Iowa Workforce Development to meet the workforce needs of employers. It provides an employer perspective in advising IWD and other policy makers on the full range of workforce issues and topics of concern to employers.
Our Mission Statement
The mission of the Employers' Council of Iowa is to support the efforts of local employers to:
Advise Iowa Workforce Development, legislators, and other officials concerning its products, services, and policies that affect employers; and
Provide opportunities for employers to exchange information and develop education programs for employers.
We link employers of small to medium sized businesses in Iowa to resources and education to meet their human resource needs. Working in conjunction with Iowa Workforce Development, we conduct seminars and webinars on important topics such as employment laws, employee benefits, human resource compliance, hiring techniques, unemployment claims, immigration laws, and many more. And it costs you nothing!
Sign up for our free online newsletter and we will keep you current with information and events hosted by ECI.
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Tip of the Month
April 2014 - Iowa Occupational Safety & Health Administration
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. Congress established the agency under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which President Richard M. Nixon signed into law on December 29, 1970. OSHA's mission is to "assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance". The agency is also charged with enforcing a variety of whistleblower statutes and regulations.
responsible for enforcing its standards on regulated entities. The agency sends
Compliance Safety and Health Officers to work sites, where they carry out
inspections and assess fines for regulatory violations. Inspections are planned
for work sites in particularly hazardous industries. Inspections can also result
in response to workplace incidents, worker complaints or referrals by other
Certain workplaces are exempted from OSHA inspections because they fall outside
of the scope of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, are regulated by other
agencies, or are exempted through Department of Labor appropriations bills.
Additionally, workplaces participating in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs are exempted from programmatic inspections, though they can still be subject to accident-, complaint-, or referral-initiated inspections.
In addition to enforcing regulations issued under the Occupational Safety and
Health Act, OSHA is also responsible for enforcing
whistleblower provisions of 21
statutes. Over the years, Congress has designated OSHA as responsible for
enforcing these laws, regardless of their relationship to occupational safety
and health matters. Most recently, Congress designated OSHA as the agency
responsible for enforcing the whistleblower provisions of the
Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer
questions or concerns about Iowa OSHA workplace
safety regulation and enforcement
feel free to
contact IWD OSHA Department at
242-5870. Also, OSHA complaints can be faxed over to Iowa OSHA Department
at 515-281-7995. A hyperlink of the Iowa OSHA Safety Complaint Form is
Is Your Small Business Exempt from OSHA?
The Occupational Safety and Health Act covers most businesses that have employees. It has specific rules and regulations but it also specifies a number of industries that are exempt from the OSH Act.
Not everyone has to follow OSH Act regulations and many
small businesses are exempt from the requirements.
Most OSH Act requirements are designed to keep employees safe and it's a not a
bad idea to consider if they can help you, both for your employee's sake and
yours. Keeping employees safe keeps down costs by preventing injuries but not
all the OSH Act rules are helpful to small businesses.
So if you're a small business, how do you know if you're exempt from OSHA?
Businesses with 10 employees or fewer are exempt from
OSH Act's injury and incident reporting as well as programmed inspections by
Occupational Safety and Health Administration employees.
Other small businesses with more than 10 employees may also be exempt from the
programmed inspections. This applies to certain "low-hazard industries"
identified by OSHA.
Certain employers are expressly not covered by the OSH Act meaning none of the rules apply to these businesses. That includes self-employed people, farms that employ only immediate family members, and people who employ others for domestic services such as cleaning and child care.
Churches and religious church activities, states, and businesses that are governed by federal agencies are also not bound by OSH Act regulations.
The categories look neat when stated by the government,
but in reality it can be difficult to figure out where a complex and evolving
business falls under OSH Act regulations.
If you are still unsure about whether your business falls within an exempt
category, ask a legal expert.
March 2014 - The Benefits of the Employer Indexing Exchange & IowaWorks Job Bank to Job Seekers and Employers
Employer Indexing Exchange
Valuable benefits to employers include the following:
To request index membership for your business, please visit the following website to learn more about this service:
IowaWORKS Job Bank
For more information regarding Central Iowa Works Job Bank, please contact:
February 2014 - The National Career Readiness Certificate
The National Career Readiness Certificate uses three foundational skill assessments to verify to employers that an individual has essential employability skills. The National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) certifies workers as having key work-ready skills and is a tool for businesses in Iowa to hire the best while saving money and boosting productivity.
Demonstrating higher job skills means you have access to higher-paying jobs. Employers are willing to pay higher salaries for higher skill levels.
According to ACT research, higher certificate levels lead to higher pay.
Wanted: Applicants with Certified Workplace Skills
Employers across the country report that they are often overwhelmed by stacks of applications for only a handful of open positions. Sifting through these applications is time-consuming and inefficient. Employers need a way to quickly pinpoint individuals with essential, verifiable workplace skills. That’s why they’re asking applicants to earn a National Career Readiness Certificate.
The NCRC can reduce hiring time and costs, training and turnover time.
The National Career Readiness Certificate is composed of three WorkKeys® assessments that measure skills critical to on-the job success.
Locating Information (LI) - measures the skills people use when working with workplace graphics. This includes; charts, graphs, tables, forms, flowcharts, diagrams, floor plans, maps, and instrument gauges.
Reading for Information (RFI) - measures the skills people use when they read and use written text in memos, letters, directions, signs, notices, bulletins, policies, and regulations.
Listed here is a link that will show where NCRC Tests are administered in the Des Moines Metro Area and will also provide instructions on how to schedule an appointment at the NCRC Testing site.
January 2014 - Federal Bonding
What is Federal Bonding?
Federal Bonding is a program that covers any person whose background usually leads employers to question their honesty and deny them a job.
A Fidelity Bond is issued between the employer and Department of Labor (DOL) that protects the employer against theft, property damage etc.
What does Federal Bonding Program do?
Federal Bonding is beneficial to both the employer and job seeker. The program gives employers peace of mind they are covered in the event of any loss of money or property due to employee dishonesty. At the same time it also provides applicants with a greater variety of jobs with the potential of higher wages.
This provides an incentive for employers to hire those with a risk factor. Thus, eliminates bonding as a barrier to employment.
Which Job Applicants could benefit from the Federal Bonding Program?
What specific amounts & types of coverage does the Federal Bonding Program offer?
The monetary coverage that a Federal Bond offers is typically $5000 with coverage period of 6 months. The type of bond offer in the Federal Bonding program is a Fidelity Bond. There is no deductible to the employer filing a claim. In certain cases, larger Federal Bond amounts can be considered. Once the start date of employment has been set, the Federal Bond goes into effect instantly. The Federal bond provides employers peace of mind that they are covered in the event of any money and or property is stolen or damage due to the employee dishonesty.
The Federal Bond is issued by the local Federal Bonding Coordinator (Shan Seivert). Her contact information is listed below. The Federal Bond is underwritten by the McLaughlin Company based in Washington D.C. They will provide employers a copy of their policies for employers to review.
How does one apply for the Federal Bonding Program?
Either the employer or job applicant can request the Federal Bond, preferably the employer. The employer must make the applicant an offer with a set start date before bond will be issued. The job start date is the effective date which the bond will terminate in 6 months. After 6 months, continued coverage may be purchased by the employer at regular commercial rate, if the employee has exhibited job honesty.
Once the employer sets a start date, the bond is issued instantly. Employer and job applicant sign no papers and the bond is self-terminating. Federal Bonding can be also utilized to cover current employee to secure a promotion to a new job or to prevent a layoff.
Other useful information in regards to Federal Bonding
Job applicants must meet legal minimum working age of 16 in Iowa. However, there is no maximum age limit. Federal Bonding does not cover self-employment.
Fidelity bond is only issued to an employer who will automatically withhold the bonded employee’s Federal taxes A Federal Bond can be issued for a part-time or temporary positions.
Point of Contact on Federal Bonding with Iowa Workforce Development
December 2013 – Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)
What is WOTC?
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) program was created to provide employers with a federal tax credit as an incentive to hire job seekers in several target groups that have consistently faced significant barriers to employment.
Who is assisted by the WOTC Program?
WOTC assists both employers and targeted job seekers. Employers save as tax credits help reduce their federal business taxes & job seekers qualifying as a member of one of the targeted groups gain an advantage in the job market.
WOTC applies to new employees only and must be part of the following targeted group which are:
Who doesn’t qualify?
How do employers apply for the WOTC Program?
There are two forms that must be submitted to WOTC for each “new” employee:
Then, the employer must mail or fax the forms within 28 calendars days after the new employee’s start date to:
Iowa Workforce Development
How much of a tax credit can I receive under the WOTC Program?
The tax credit employers can claim depends on the target group of the individual hired, the wages paid to that individual in the first year of employment, and the number of hours that individual worked. There is also a maximum tax credit that can be earned. This amount can between $2400-to-$9600 per hire.
Who is the WOTC contact person with Iowa Workforce Development?
November 2013 - The Ins and Outs of Workers' Compensation
What is Workers' Compensation?
The Workers’ Compensation law requires most employers to provide benefits to eligible employees who have injuries arising out of and in the course of employment. Iowa Code 85.61(7)
What types of injuries are covered?
In Iowa, "injury" is defined very broadly to include any health impairment other than the normal building up and tearing down of body tissues. The health impairment must be a result of employment activities.
Health impairment could also include not only physical impairment but also mental health impairment as resulted for the “injury at the worksite.”
Diseases and hearing losses are also considered to be injuries if they are a result of the employment activities or exposures. Iowa Code 85A & 85B
An employee is not entitled to benefits for a preexisting injury or disease unless it is aggravated, or worsened, by the employment.
Who is eligible for Workers' Compensation?
Most employees who are injured in Iowa, working under contract of hire made in Iowa, or whose employment is principally localized in Iowa, are eligible for benefits if they have a job-related injury. Iowa Code 85.71
There are few classifications of employees who are exempt from the law, and therefore not eligible for benefits, please consult with a compliance administrator with the Division of Workers' Compensation.
Proprietors (independent contractors) limited liability company members and partners are not considered employees but may elect to be covered by purchasing a valid workers’ compensation insurance policy specifically including the proprietor or partner. Iowa Code 85.1A, 85.61(13)
What types of benefits does the law provide?
The law provides for the payment of all reasonable and necessary medical care incurred to treat the injury. This includes reasonably necessary transportation expenses. Mileage for use of a private auto is reimbursed at a rate set by the state of Iowa, currently at 56.5 cents per mile. Iowa Code (85.27)
Under certain circumstances an employee who has to leave work for medical treatment may be eligible for payment of lost wages. Iowa Code (85.27)
While a contested case proceeding or a dispute on reasonableness of a fee is pending, the medical care provider cannot seek payment of its charges from the employee. Iowa Code (85.27)
Total weekly compensation for any employee is not to exceed 80% of the employee’s weekly spendable earnings. The law defines "spendable earnings" as that amount remaining after payroll taxes are deducted from gross weekly earnings.
The weekly amount of the disability benefit is determined by the employee’s average gross weekly earnings, the number of exemptions, and the marital status.
The weekly compensation benefit amount is based upon a seven-day calendar week. The maximum weekly disability benefit rate for PPD is $1419.00. The maximum weekly disability benefit rate of TTD, HP, PTD, and death benefits is $1543.00. These rates are effective July 1.
Contact Information for Worker Compensation?
Division of Workers' Compensation
October 2013 - Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
Here is the Tip of the Month from Employer Council of Iowa (ECI) for October 2013. The area of interest is in the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA)
The FMLA further requires employers to provide for eligible workers:
For further information, please click on the link listed below:
September 2013 - MyIowaUI.org
Starting on 9/20/2013, all employers and 3rd party providers will be required to use http://www.myiowaui.org to file unemployment insurance (UI) quarterly reports and submit new employer registrations. Applications and quarterly reports that had been submitted by paper will no longer be accepted. Some of the highlights with this new system includes:
For more information, open up the MyIowaUI flyer.
Iowa Workforce Development Region 11
An Equal Opportunity