Iowa state government salary

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State Information

This page describes the compensation, salaries and benefits that Iowa's public employees receive from state and local government.

The Des Moines Register provides a searchable database for 2012 salaries, last updated November 1, 2012.[1]

Legislator salaries

See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries

As of 2010, Iowa state legislators made $25,000 per year.[2] As of 2012, legislators also received a per diem of $135 per day, plus mileage tied to federal rate, or $101.25 per day for Polk County legislators, which is set by the legislature to coincide with federal rate.[3]

State executive salaries

See also: Compensation of state executive officers
State executive salaries[4]
Office '10 salary Current official
Governor $130,000 Terry Branstad
Lieutenant Governor $103,212 Kim Reynolds
Secretary of State $103,212 Matt Schultz
Attorney General $123,669 Tom Miller
Treasurer $103,212 Michael Fitzgerald

As of 2008, the salary of Iowa's governor ranked 24th among U.S. governors' salaries. The average salary earned by U.S. governors was $128,735. The median salary earned by U.S. governors was $129,962.[5]

Gov. Branstad said in February 2011 that he would not reduce his salary to help reduce the state's budget deficit.[6] In addition to his $130,000 salary, Gov. Branstad receives a state pension worth more than $50,000 from his previous service in government, a practice known as "double-dipping."[6]

Judicial salaries

See also: State court budgets and judicial salaries
Iowa judicial salaries[7]
Position '09 salary Current justice
Chief Justice $170,850 Mark Cady
Associate Justice $163,200 Edward Mansfield
Associate Justice $163,200 Bruce B. Zager
Associate Justice $163,200 Thomas Waterman
Associate Justice $163,200 David Wiggins
Associate Justice $163,200 Daryl Hecht
Associate Justice $163,200 Brent Appel

As of early 2010, the salary of Iowa's chief justice ranked 12th among U.S. chief justices' salaries. The average salary earned by U.S. chief justices was $155,230. The median salary earned by U.S. chief justices was $151,284.[7]

As of early 2010, the salary of Iowa's associate justices ranked 16th among U.S. associate justices' salaries. The average salary earned by U.S. associate justices was $151,142. The median salary earned by U.S. associate justices was $145,984.[7]

State and local employees

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents approximately 13,000 state employees, on December 23, 2010 approved a contract with a 6 percent pay increase split over 2011 and 2012. The contract called for a 2 percent across-the-board salary increase as of July 1, 2011; 1 percent more as of Jan. 1, 2012; 2 percent more on July 1, 2012; and 1 percent more on Jan. 1, 2013.[8] Then governor-elect Terry Branstad said the pay hikes would cost the state too much money.[8]

According to 2008 U.S. Census data, the state of Iowa and local governments in the state employed a total of 232,004 people.[9] Of those employees, 152,320 were full-time employees receiving net wages of $605,192,000 per month and 79,684 were part-time employees paid $78,652,186 per month.[9] More than 59% of those employees, or 136,897 employees, were in education or higher education.[9]

The typical state employee earning an annual $40,000 salary costs taxpayers another 35 percent - or about $14,000 - in benefits.[10]

In FY2010, over two dozen Iowa state government workers received $30,000 or more in overtime pay, which the state pays at time and a half.[10]

Teacher salaries

In 2011, Iowa lawmakers were discussing using funds from the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education fund to help pay for higher teacher salaries. Lawmakers included in the statute that the money collected should not be used for "any other purpose" than school infrastructure or property tax relief "unless the bill is approved by a vote of at least two-thirds of the members of both chambers of the General Assembly and is signed by the governor." The tax brought in $377 million in fiscal year 2010 and $382.8 million in fiscal year 2011, according to Department of Revenue figures.[11]

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State employee benefits

The State of Iowa offers its employees many benefits. Employees receiving full-time benefits must work 30 hours or more per week in benefits-eligible positions. Employees receiving part-time benefits must work 20 – 29 hours per week in benefits-eligible positions.[12]



Employees can choose from several options for health insurance, including two Managed Care Organization (MCO) options, a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) and an Indemnity. None of the plans offered have a lifetime maximum benefit limit.[12] Prescription drug coverage is included in all options.[12] Employees do not pay for the MCO options.[12] For full-time employees, the state's monthly contribution varies from $398.49 to $643.23 for a single employee and between $932.47 and $1,274.79 per month for family coverage.[12]


Employees may elect to have dental coverage, which comes at no cost for single individual coverage and low cost for family coverage.[12] The state pays $26.14 per month for single coverage and $35.04 for family.[12]


Employees in eligible positions working more than 30 hours per week receive basic term life insurance and accidental death, long-term disability and dismemberment insurance paid for fully by the state.[12] Employees have the option of adding a supplemental life insurance policy for which the employee pays in full.[12]


Full-time employees accrue the following vacation hours based on their years of service with the state:[12]

Years of service Hours accumulated
1 - 4 years of service 80 hours per year
5 - 11 years of service 120 hours per year
12 - 19 years of service 160 hours per year
20 - 24 years of service 176 hours per year
25 or more years of service 200 hours per year

Additionally, two unscheduled holidays are added to the employee's vacation accrual. Part-time employees earn prorated amounts of vacation based on the number of hours worked.[12]

Sick leave

The amount of sick leave earned by an employee varies depending on the number of hours of sick leave already earned and whether the employee falls under the UE/IUP-covered Social Service Unit.[12] Employees in the social service unit earn between 4 and 8 hours of sick leave per month. Other employees earn either 4, 8 or 12 hours of sick leave per month.[12]. A benefits-eligible employee who has accumulated a minimum of 30 days (240 sick leave hours) and who does not use sick leave during the previous calendar month may convert sick leave to vacation.

An employee may be able to use sick leave for medically related disabilities, personal illness and personal medical and dental appointments. In some cases, the employee can use sick leave for deaths in the immediate family, pallbearer service, care of immediate family members and adoption.[12]


All permanent and probationary employees receive 9 paid holidays each year.[12]

  • New Year’s Day
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Day after Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

Other leave

Employees may also be granted leave for a variety of other reasons, including:[12]

  • Bone marrow and organ donation
  • Disaster service volunteer
  • Jury duty/court appearance
  • Educational
  • Military
  • Election
  • Voting


See also: Iowa public pensions

Employees contribute to the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) program, a defined benefit plan. The employee contribution is 4.30 percent of salary and the state’s contribution is 6.65 percent of salary.[12] Employees are always 100 percent vested in their contributions. After four years of service or when an employee reaches age 55 while in IPERS-covered employment, he/she becomes vested in a portion of the employer contributions made on his/her behalf.[12]

The Retirement Investors' Club (RIC) is a voluntary savings program that allows employees to set aside a portion of their salaries, in accordance with IRS regulations, for use in retirement.[12]

Other benefits

These benefits are available to all employees:[12]

  • Employee Assistance Program - Confidential assessment, consultation and referral program to help the employee and his/her family deal with personal problems. Counseling services are limited to three sessions with a counselor per incident.
  • Employee Discount Program - Program allows state employees to save money by offering savings on popular goods and service.

Available to employees working more than 20 hours per week:[12]

  • Flexible Spending Account - employees may defer up to $3,000 per year for unreimbursed health and dental expenses on a pre-tax basis and up to $5,000 per year for dependent care expenses on a pre-tax basis.

Additional reading

External links