Effective July 1, 2023, Iowa's updated Youth Employment Law (Senate File 542) makes several changes, including the ability for Iowa employers to apply for a waiver for 16- and 17-year-olds to participate in approved work-based learning or work-related programs involving certain hazardous work activities under certain conditions. 

The waiver process is done in conjunction with Iowa Workforce Development (IWD), the Iowa Department of Education (IDOE), and the Iowa Department of Inspections, Appeals and Licensing (DIAL). Below is more information on the process, the list of hazardous and always prohibited activities, and how the waiver may or may not apply in different cases. 

Every effort will be made to review program applications in a timely manner. Applications will be reviewed in the order that they are received. For any questions about your application or to discuss your program with the state, please contact Thank you for your interest in the waiver application process. 


Senate File 542 introduces a process where employers can apply for an exemption (waiver) for approved work-based learning or employer-administered work-related programs involving certain hazardous activities with 16- and 17-year-olds under specific agreed-upon conditions (see Iowa Code § 92.8A). Employers with or without school partners may apply for the waiver. 

There are circumstances when the waiver requirement does not apply when certain hazardous activities are involved. This occurs only when employers are partnering with schools that have approved work-based learning programs. These specific programs have conditions that are more stringent than the waiver requirements. 

Determining whether a waiver is needed will depend on each employer’s fact-specific circumstances, so it will be important to thoroughly read the updated state law and consult with legal counsel. 

In addition, please note that a waiver will not be required under the following circumstances: 

  • Employers participating in Registered Apprenticeship (RA) Programs with high school students. A waiver is not needed as RA Programs already include a separate vetting process.
  • A waiver is also not needed for other types of school-related work-based learning programs that do not involve hazardous activities. 

Please view the steps and resources below to get started. Please contact the following email for any questions:

Youth Employment Waiver Process