The Kansas Workers Compensation Law provides compensation for workers who sustain job-related injuries. Benefits are paid by the employer’s insurance carrier or self-insurance program, and no charge is made to the employee.
I understand that if an injury occurs on the job, the worker must notify their employer immediately. The employee’s claim may be denied if they fail to tell the employer within 10 days of the injury. For just cause a worker may have 75 days to tell the employer of an injury. Thereafter they must file a written claim within 200 days of the accident or last date benefits are paid. Submission of an Employer’s Report of Accident does not constitute a written claim.
Upon receiving notice of an injury, the employer must provide the employee written information to assist the injured worker in understanding his rights and responsibilities in obtaining compensation. Employers must report all employee injuries to the Division of Workers Compensation within 28 days from the date of injury. Employers must also post the Kansas Workers Compensation Notice in a prominent place in their business.
An employee can not be fired, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against for filing a claim in good faith. An injured worker is entitled to all medical services reasonably necessary to cure and relieve the worker from the effects of the injury. The employer has the right to select the doctor who will treat the injury. A worker may seek the services of an unauthorized doctor up to a limit of $500. A worker may apply to the Workers Compensation Director to change the authorized treating doctor.
My reading shows that an employer is not liable for workers compensation benefits if:
- A worker is impaired due to the use of alcohol or drugs and the impairment contributed to injury or death. An employee’s refusal to submit to a drug test may not be used as evidence of impairment, unless there is probable cause to believe that the employee was impaired while working.
- The employee suffers a heart attack or stroke unless it is shown that the exertion of the work that caused the injury was beyond that required by the employee’s usual job duties, or was shown to be caused by extreme heat.
- There is an aggravation of a pre-existing condition, except to the extent that the work related injury causes increased disability.
An injured employee is entitled to a weekly amount of 66 2/3% of his average weekly wage up to a maximum of 75% of the state’s average weekly wage. If the injury results in permanent disability, the law provides for additional benefits.
If an employee becomes unemployed, they may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. If they are still employed but working fewer hours than a regular full-time work week and are earning less than a regular full-time wage, they may be entitled to partial benefits.
Unemployment insurance benefits are made possible by taxes paid by this employer. No deductions are made from a worker’s paycheck for unemployment insurance.
In order to qualify for unemployment insurance, a worker must:
- Be totally or partially unemployment;
- Have worked and earned a minimum amount of wages in work covered by unemployment insurance in the last 15 to 18 months (Iowa Workforce Development will determine this);
- Have lost their job through no fault of their own;
- Be able and available for work;
- Be registered for work at a local Workforce Development Center; and
- Be actively seeking work.
A worker may be denied benefits because they:
- Quit a job without good cause attributable to an employer.
- Were discharged or suspended for misconduct in connection with a job.
- Refused suitable work with an employer or recall to suitable work by a former employer
- Are not able to work, not available to work or not actively seeking work as required.
- Are unemployed due to a strike or labor dispute.
- Have set unrealistic limitations on the wages, hours or days, types of work or locations of a job they will accept.
- Fail to report to the Workforce Development Center or satisfactorily participate in reemployment services when told to do so.
- Are a school employee with either a contract or reasonable assurance of returning to work when school resumes the next academic year or term.
- Fail to return the Work Search History form when requested.
As soon as a worker becomes unemployed, they may file a new unemployment insurance claim either online or in person.
Delay in filing an unemployment insurance claim can result in the loss of all or part of the benefits a worker may be entitled to receive.
Employers must post a notice of the Iowa unemployment insurance benefit poster in their workplace.
The Iowa Division of Labor Services administers the Health and Safety Protection laws of Iowa, which provide job safety and health protection for workers. The Division of Labor adopts Federal occupational safety and health standards as State of Iowa standards.
I understand that employers must furnish a place of employment free from recognized hazards which cause or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees and comply with occupational safety and health standards.
Employees, for their part, must comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations and orders issued which are applicable to the employee’s own actions and conduct.
The Iowa Hazardous Chemicals Risk Right-to-Know Law gives employees a right to information regarding hazardous chemicals in the workplace. Employers are to provide this information upon request.
To ensure compliance with safety and health requirements, the Iowa Division of Labor Services conducts periodic inspections. An authorized representative of the employer and a representative authorized by the employees must be given an opportunity to accompany the inspector for the purpose of aiding the inspection.
I read that employees have the right to bring unsafe conditions to the attention of the compliance safety and health officer making the inspection. Complainant’s names will be kept anonymous upon request. Employees may not be discharged or discriminated against in any way for filing safety and health complaints or otherwise exercising their rights under the law.
Employees who believe they have been discriminated against may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor within 30 days of the alleged discrimination.
If a violation has occurred, I know that a citation of alleged violations and proposed penalties must be issued promptly to the employer. Each citation specifies a time period within which the alleged violation must be corrected. Citations issued by the Iowa Division of Labor Services must be prominently displayed at or near the place of violation.
My research shows that penalties of up to $7,000 are assessed for each act of non-compliance. A willful violation resulting in the death of an employee is a serious misdemeanor and may result in a fine of $250 – $1,500 or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.
The employer must display a poster stating the Iowa OSHA laws in a prominent place in the workplace.
I have read that the hourly minimum wage in Iowa is set at $5.15 an hour, and applies to most hourly earners. Some exceptions to the law may be paid less than the minimum wage only under special certificates issued by the U.S. Department of Labor. These include:
- Retail and service establishments making less than $300,000 a year
- Most supervisory and administrative employees paid a salary
- Certain full-time students, student learners, apprentices
- Workers with disabilities
The tip credit which an employer may claim is 40% of the applicable minimum wage, or $2.13 an hour in direct wages. “Tipped Employees” customarily and regularly receive more than $30.00 a month in tips. If an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour do not equal the federal minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference.
My research shows that iIn Iowa, overtime is enforced through the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This law requires that workers who work over 40 hours of work in a workweek must be paid time and a half. Some exceptions to the 40 hours per week standard apply under special circumstances to police officers and firefighters employed by public agencies and to employees of hospitals and nursing homes.
The Iowa Division of Labor may bring action against employers who violate the state’s minimum wage law. Courts may order payment of back wages. No employer can discriminate against or discharge an employee for filing a complaint or participating in a proceeding under this law.
Since there are a combination of state and federal laws governing minimum wage, the more stringent law is always the one that takes precedent. Employers must post a notice of the minimum wage law somewhere it is easily be seen.
I find that the subject of lunches and breaks is often of great interest to employees and employers alike. It is interesting to note that Illinois is one of several states with a specific state law regarding this topic.
In the state of Illinois, employers are required to give employees a meal period of at least 20 minutes if they have worked seven and a half hours or more. This meal break must happen no more than five hours after the start of the employee’s work day. This state law does not apply to workers who are under a collective bargaining agreement that covers meal periods, and it also doesn’t apply to workers who monitor individuals with developmental disabilities or mental illness.
I also think it would be worthwhile to review a recent provision in Illinois law that specifically applies to “hotel room attendants” – in other words, people who clean hotel or motel guest rooms. Under this law, hotel room attendants must be given a 30 minute meal period as well as two rest breaks of 15 minutes each in length if they will be working seven hours or more. The law also notes that hotel room attendants must be provided a room on the premises with adequate seating in which they may take their breaks. This law only applies in counties with a population of greater than three million persons.
The Illinois state law does not give specific mention to whether or not lunches or breaks for hotel room attendants or workers in general are to be paid or unpaid, but the guidance of federal law would still apply. The federal law states that shorter breaks (usually 20 minutes or less in length) must be paid. Longer meal times, however (typically 30 minutes or more) may be unpaid if the worker is completely relieved of his or her duties.
The Illinois Complete Labor Law Poster gives helpful information on lunch and break laws at the federal and state level, as well as information on many other labor law issues.