AFSCME Iowa Council 61 - Every Day. Everywhere. Making Iowa Better.

Ask Attorney Mark Hedberg: Know What to Expect with Unemployment

Mark Headberg
Mark Hedberg

   What can a person expect from unemployment compensation?
   A person on unemployment can expect to make $347 per week and an additional $13 per dependent for up to four dependents for up to 26 weeks.
   Unemployment may be either total or partial (See Iowa Code Sec. 96.19-38). Total unemployment means a person has no work and no wages payable for a given week. Partial unemployment means a person is working fewer hours than in a person’s regular work week.
   To receive benefits, a person must be able to work, available for work and actively seeking work. See Section 96.4(3).
   However, he or she need not accept a job offer. Work can be refused as unsuitable for such reasons as lower wages , terms and conditions of employment and geographical location (Iowa Code Capt. 96.3)
What would disqualify a person from getting unemployment benefits?
   The general rule is that an individual is disqualified if discharged for misconduct in connection with his or her employment. See Iowa Code Sec. 96.5-2-a.
   Often misconduct is found in deliberate acts or omissions. The following actions are considered misconduct:

  • Excessive unexcused absenteeism
  • Absence due to matters of “personal responsibility”, e.g., transportation problems and oversleeping
  • Insubordination.
  • Continued failure to follow reasonable instructions constitutes misconduct.
  • Profanity or other offensive language in a confrontational or disrespectful context
  • Threats that an employer should stay out of
  • a workers’ way or he would be sorry
  • Violation specific work rule even off-duty, can constitute misconduct

Information offered here is a glimpse into unemployment benefit issues. For more information visit and click on the green icon to the left labeled “Ask the Attorney.” Here readers will find more detailed information.

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