Veterans Day is a remembrance of all U.S. military veterans – past and present – and is celebrated every year on November 11. While the federal government, banks and schools may observe this day by closing, most private sector employers stay open and employees work. It is not widely known that a few states, including Iowa, have laws requiring employers to give the day off to qualified veterans.
Iowa employers are required to provide time off on the day observed as Veterans Day (this year observed on Friday, November 10) to each employee who is a veteran if the employee would normally be required to work that day and the employee requests it.
The Iowa law gives employers the discretion of providing the time off as either paid or unpaid. Qualified employees wishing to take the day off should provide the employer with at least one month's prior written notice of his or her intent to take time off for Veterans Day and provide the employer with a federal certificate of release or discharge from active duty, or similar federal document, for purposes of determining the employee's eligibility for the benefit.
Employers need to notify the employee, at least ten days prior to Veterans Day, if the employee will have the day off paid or unpaid. If the employer is unable to provide time off for all qualified employees who request it, the employer may deny time off to the minimum number of employees needed to protect public health and safety or to maintain minimum operational capacity, as applicable.
There is no poster requirement for this law; however, employers should communicate this provision to their employees so they are aware, either through a memo or policy. A sample holiday policy with the Iowa Veterans Day language is available for MRA members.
Source: Lynell Meeth, HR Director, MRA – The Management Association