Mississippi Labor Laws

March 15th 2024

This article covers:

What are Mississippi Time Management Laws?

In the US, there are federal laws in place to manage the time spent by employees in the workplace, safeguarding their rights and guaranteeing fair pay for their efforts. These laws act as directives for employers, keeping them in check, and minimizing any forms of abuse or exploitation.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which dates back to 1938, is a critical federal law for time management, setting hourly wage rates and overtime pay, and requiring employers to keep an accurate record of their employees’ working hours. Overtime is pegged at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for workers who exceed 40 hours a week. However, certain job categories, including executives, professionals, and administrative employees, are exempt from overtime pay depending on their job description and salary.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is another essential federal law that governs time management in the workplace, entitling eligible employees to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons, such as the birth or adoption of a child or caring for a family member with a serious health condition. This act also requires employers to maintain employees’ health benefits during their leave and restore them to their previous or equivalent positions upon their return to work.

Employers who contravene federal time management laws face severe legal ramifications, including fines, back pay, and damages. If workers feel that their employer has violated federal time management laws, they can file complaints with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for investigation and legal action.

Overall, federal time management laws are instrumental in ensuring that workers are compensated fairly for their time and effort in the workplace, protecting them from abuse and exploitation by employers. The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act are vital federal laws that govern time management and worker compensation, ensuring fair labor practices across various sectors, including non-profit, public, and private organizations.

Mississippi Minimum Wage $7.25
Mississippi Overtime Laws 1.5 times the rate for over 40 hours per week
$10.88 for minimum wage workers
Mississippi Break Laws None required

What are the Hiring, Working & Termination Laws in Mississippi?

When Mississippi employers are hiring and selecting candidates, it is important to note that they cannot consider certain factors. This is to prevent any form of discrimination. The categories that fall under anti-discrimination policies include:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Gender-related identity
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetic information (including family medical history)
  • Physical/mental disability
  • Child/spousal support withholding
  • Military or veteran status

Mississippi shares the common “employment-at-will” policy with most other US states. To clarify, this means that employers may choose to terminate their employees’ work at any time, with or without cause. Likewise, employees are also free to exit their jobs without repercussions. In compliance with state laws, employers are required to issue a final paycheck to any employee whose employment has been terminated, inclusive of all wages and benefits. However, there are currently no set regulations regarding the timeline in which this paycheck must be issued. As a solution, the federal government suggests addressing such details in written employment contracts.

What Are the Key Labor Laws in Mississippi?

Now, we will discuss some key labor laws in Mississippi that may not be related to the categories we have previously explored. Some of these regulations include:

  • OSHA Laws – It is crucial for employers to provide a safe and healthy working environment, as required by both federal and state laws. In particular, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), enacted by Congress in 1970, mandates that employers continuously examine the safety conditions at work and strive to enhance them. Their obligation underscores the importance of preventing workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. To enhance workplace safety, employers must offer proper training programs and educational sessions to their employees. These programs should cover all the regulations and procedures that ensure a safe and healthy work environment. Furthermore, employers must maintain a workspace free from recognized hazards that could cause harm, conduct regular safety demonstrations, and follow OSHA guidelines. To enforce safety and health requirements, OSHA inspectors, who are referred to as compliance safety and health officers, perform effective supervision. Overall, it is the employer’s responsibility to prioritize the well-being of their workers by offering optimal safety and health conditions.
  • Whistleblower Protection Laws – These laws aim to protect employees from negative consequences when they exercise their legal rights. Workers who have information about illegal practices or safety hazards in the workplace are known as whistleblowers. These individuals must be able to report such instances without fear of losing their jobs. Discrimination or different treatment is not allowed when employees do the following: exercise their First Amendment rights, report alleged violations of the law, oppose or complain about workplace discrimination, exercise their OSHA rights, or participate in an investigation of discrimination. However, Mississippi only extends whistleblower protections to public employees since there are no state-specific regulations on the topic.
  • Background Check Laws – Not all employers require background checks, but those are permitted under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. However, certain positions in Mississippi necessitate background checks, such as those working with children, carrying a weapon, and providing direct patient care, among others listed. Additionally, employers must comply with the rules and regulations set forth by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when conducting checks.
  • Cobra Laws – When employees are terminated from their job, they can still keep their health insurance and benefits under a law called the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). This law applies to employers with over 20 employees and allows for up to 30 months of coverage. Some states also have their own version of this law, called “mini-COBRA,” which applies to small businesses with 2-19 employees. Mississippi enforces its own mini-COBRA law, which provides 12 months of continuation coverage for employers with fewer than 20 employees.
  • Recordkeeping Laws – If you’re an employer in Mississippi, you’re expected to abide by FLSA regulations and maintain employee records for a minimum of three years. Want to know what’s included in these records? Find out below with the complete list:
    • Full name
    • Social security number
    • Occupation of the employee
    • Date of birth
    • Home address
    • Gender
    • Regular hourly rate of pay
    • Basis on which wages are paid
    • Total daily or weekly net wages and deductions
    • Total gross daily or weekly wages
    • Date of each payment
    • Completed copies of I-9
    • Collective bargaining agreements
    • Records of sales and purchases
    • Records of leaves, notices, and policies under the Family and Medical Act

Mississippi Payment Laws

To start off, let’s take a look at the laws that govern how much employees must be paid. We’ll delve into the details of minimum wage standards, including any exceptions that may apply.

What is the Minimum Payment in Mississippi?

Mississippi does not have its own minimum wage law, meaning that the federal minimum wage is in effect, which currently stands at $7.25 per hour. If there is any increase to the federal minimum wage, it will likewise affect Mississippi workers. Employers are not allowed to pay non-exempt employees a rate that is lower than the minimum standard. Keep in mind that there are some exceptions to this rule, such as for certain tipped positions. For a comprehensive understanding of the exemptions and positions that are excluded from the minimum wage requirement, read on below. This applies to both employers and employees.

It’s common for certain occupations, particularly those in the hospitality industry, to be associated with receiving tips. These tips are defined by the IRS as amounts of money that customers give to employees as a form of recognition for their services and attitude. To qualify as a tipped employee, individuals must regularly receive such gratuities (typically in cash), such as servers, bartenders, delivery drivers, and waiters.

Tipped employees in Mississippi have a minimum wage of $2.13. However, this minimum wage rate is only applicable if the sum of the basis ($2.13) and the earned tips amount to at least $7.25, which is the regular minimum wage rate. If this sum is lower, it’s up to the employer to make up the difference.

In alignment with federal rules, Mississippi also permits and may even require tip pooling. This means that all collected tips during a shift will be redistributed to all employees, even those who don’t normally receive cash gratuities, such as chefs, assistant chefs, line cooks, prep cooks, and dishwashers.

What are the Exceptions for Minimum Payment in Mississippi?

In Mississippi, there are certain occupations that are exempt from the minimum wage requirement due to the FLSA declaration. This is applicable since the state has no wage laws. Employers can offer wages lower or higher than the standard hourly minimum wage under specific circumstances. Here is a comprehensive list of the exceptions.

  • White Collar employees (bona fide executives, administrative, and professionals, provided they earn at least $684 per week)
  • Outside salespeople (provided they earn at least $684 per week)
  • Computer employees
  • Minors and younger workers (under the age of 20)
  • Farm workers
  • Seasonal workers
  • Workers in the US government services
  • Employees working in domestic service, in or about a private home
  • Employees working as babysitters in the employer’s home
  • Employees working as companions of an elderly, sick, or convalescing person
  • Employees working in newspaper delivery
  • Full-time and vocational students
  • Employees with disabilities
  • Employees in certain non-profit and educational organizations, provided they have a certificate from the Department of Labor (they can be paid starting from 85% of the applicable minimum wage rate)

As previously noted, Mississippi lacks its own sets of minimum wage laws. Consequently, the state does not regulate subminimum wage duties, leading to the enforcement of federal laws. Subminimum wage generally pertains to workers in the following classifications:

  • Minors
  • Employees with disabilities
  • Apprentices
  • Trainees
  • Learners
  • Student learners
  • Student workers

In Mississippi, employers must give their employees a breakdown of deductions with each paycheck, but there are no other laws regarding deductions. This means that employers can deduct money for cash shortages, lost or damaged property, required uniforms or tools, or any other necessary items for employees to do their jobs. However, federal law requires that these deductions cannot cause an employee to earn less than the federal minimum wage for a pay period.

Mississippi employers cannot pay their employees less than the standard hourly rate due to federal law. Basically, this means that the minimum wage and subminimum wage in Mississippi are equal, and are both based on the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

What is the Payment Due Date in Mississippi?

According to Mississippi law, employers must pay their employees once every two weeks. This means that payroll periods are semi-monthly and employees must receive their compensation no later than 13 days after the end of a pay period. It’s important to note that this requirement only applies to public labor or public service corporations, as well as employers engaged in manufacturing with at least 50 employees. Private employers are exempt from this rule.

What are Mississippi Overtime Laws?

In Mississippi, any hours worked over 40 in a week is considered overtime by both federal and state law. Full-time employees typically work 40 hours a week from Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, and any additional hours will need to be compensated at a higher hourly rate. Non-exempt employees who work overtime are entitled to 1.5 times their regular ($7.25) hourly rate, which currently translates to $10.88 per hour for minimum-wage employees. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and some employers may not be required to offer this rate. To determine overtime eligibility in Mississippi, it’s essential to review the exceptions outlined in the following section.

What are Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Mississippi?

It’s important for both employees and employers to understand labor laws to ensure that the work done is rightfully paid for. However, there are some exceptions to the federal overtime rules that Mississippi follows. These are:

  • Administration, executives, professionals and outside sales, who earn at least $684 per week
  • White Collar employees (bona fide executives, administrative, and professionals, provided they earn at least $684 per week)
  • Outside salespeople (provided they earn at least $684 per week)
  • Computer employees
  • Minors and young workers
  • Agricultural and farm workers
  • Seasonal workers
  • Workers in the US government services
  • Employees working in domestic service, in or about a private home
  • Employees working as babysitters in the employer’s home
  • Employees working as companions of an elderly, sick, or convalescing person
  • Employees working as a newspaper delivery
  • Full-time and vocational students
  • Employees with disabilities
  • Employees in certain non-profit and educational organizations, provided they have a certificate from the Department of Labor (their employees can be paid starting from 85% of the applicable minimum wage rate)
  • Independent contractors (because they are not considered legal employees)
  • Transportation workers
  • Any live-in employees (such as housekeepers)
  • Employees of motion picture theaters
  • Announcers, news editors, and chief engineers of certain non-metropolitan broadcasting stations

Learn more in detail about Mississippi Salaried Employees Laws and Mississippi Overtime Laws.

What are Mississippi Time Off/Break Laws?

Employers operating in Mississippi are not mandated to give their workers a rest or meal break. But the decision to offer these breaks lies with the employer, who must follow federal guidelines if they do opt to provide them. In such cases, state law requires that meal breaks shorter than 20 minutes must be paid, while those lasting over 30 minutes can be either paid or unpaid depending on the employer’s discretion. Additionally, any rest breaks shorter than 20 minutes must also be paid.

What are Mississippi Breastfeeding Laws?

If you’re a working mother who is still breastfeeding, Mississippi state law requires employers to provide suitable conditions for you to do so. This law is consistent with federal law within the state. The break period can be either paid or unpaid, based on company policy. “Suitable conditions” means a private space that is not a bathroom stall. The employer is obligated to make sure this location is close to the work area, and oversight is provided by the Mississippi State Department of Health.

What are Mississippi Leave Laws?

Mississippi provides two types of leaves – required and non-required leaves.

What is Mississippi Required Leave?

The following are the required leave types that Mississippi employers must provide to their employees:

  • Family and Medical Leave – In Mississippi, employers are required to offer unpaid leave to their employees under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if they meet certain eligibility requirements. Any employee who has worked for the employer for a year with at least 1,250 work hours is eligible to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave per year for reasons including caring for themselves or an immediate family member with a serious health condition, caring for a newborn child, or placement for adoption/foster care of a child. Employers with over 50 employees are required to follow these FMLA regulations. In 2008, Congress amended the FMLA to require employers to offer up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave if an employee needs to care for a member of the Armed Forces who is undergoing medical treatment or therapy, has a serious health condition, or has a serious injury. This applies only if the Armed Forces member is the employee’s spouse, parent, child, or next of kin.
  • Holiday Leave (Public Employees) – According to Mississippi laws, employers in the public sector must provide their employees with paid or unpaid leave during public holidays and festivities. However, this does not seem to apply to private-sector employers.
  • Jury Duty Leave – In Mississippi, it is required by law that employers allow their employees to take time off work when summoned for jury duty. Additionally, the law prohibits employers from firing or punishing employees in any manner for fulfilling their civic duty.
  • Military Leave – In the US, there’s a federal law called the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act that governs a particular kind of leave. It says that any employee who serves in the US Armed Forces, the National Guard, or a state militia is entitled to take time off work for that purpose. When those employees return to their jobs, they have the right to receive the same pay increases and benefits they would have gotten if they’d remained at work.
  • Crime Victim Leave – As per Mississippi law, employers are obligated to provide paid or unpaid leave to their employees who have become victims of any criminal activity. This leave also applies to the time they require before participating in any legal process, in addition to responding to legal subpoenas. Furthermore, they cannot be subject to any form of discrimination or differential treatment when they rejoin work.

What is Mississippi Non-Required Leave?

The non-required leave types are:

  • Sick Leave – According to Mississippi state law, employers aren’t obligated to provide any form of paid or unpaid sick leave.
  • Vacation Leave – Employers are not legally obligated to provide vacation leave, but those who voluntarily offer this type of benefit may include specific advantages. The employment contract should outline all details of the agreement between the employer and employee regarding vacation leave.
  • Voting Time Leave – Mississippi employers do not have a legal obligation to provide employees with paid or unpaid leave specifically for the purpose of voting.
  • Bereavement Leave – In Mississippi, it is not mandatory for employers to provide bereavement leave, whether it be paid or unpaid.

The following are the official federal holidays observed in the US:

State Official Holidays Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Election Day Every other year
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

What are Mississippi Child Labor Laws?

Child labor laws are in place to protect individuals under the age of 18, also known as minors, from exploitation. In Mississippi, children under the age of 14 are not allowed to work at all. The focus of these laws is to prioritize education over work while allowing minors to gain valuable life experience. To legally work in specific industries, minors under 16 must obtain an Employment Certificate or Work Permit, which can be obtained by contacting the school administrator or guidance counselor. There are also restrictions on working hours, nightwork, and specific occupations. All minors, regardless of age, are prohibited from working in hazardous positions according to federal law. The state of Mississippi has additional guidelines outlined in its Child Labor Laws.

What are the Laws on Working Hours for Minors in Mississippi?

In Mississippi, the state enforces distinct regulations for different age groups when it comes to employment. Those aged 14 and 15 have different rules compared to those aged 16 and 17. Moreover, there are specific industries where child labor is restricted, such as working with explosives and radioactive substances. We’ll delve into more detail about prohibited occupations for minors in Mississippi later. Currently, let’s take a look at the maximum hours of work and night work restrictions for minors’ employment.

Age Group School in Session School Not in Session Nightwork Restrictions
14-15 No working hours during school hours
No more than 3 hours per day
No more than 18 hours per week
No more than 8 hours per day
No more than 44 hours per week (factory, mill, cannery, workshop)
No more than 40 hours per week (elsewhere)
Prohibited to work between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. (factory, mill, cannery, workshop)
Prohibited to work between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. (elsewhere)
16-17 No working hours during school hours
No more than 3 hours per school day
No more than 18 hours per week
No more than 8 hours per day
No restrictions on maximum hours per week
No restrictions on nightwork

What are the Banned Jobs for Minors in Mississippi?

Earlier, we discussed the restriction on minors working in risky job positions. Now, let’s take a look at what qualifies as dangerous work in Mississippi. Check out this list of prohibited occupations for minors, which also includes some that are federally deemed hazardous, not just prohibited at a state level:

  • Mining
  • Logging work
  • Sawmill work
  • Forest fire prevention work
  • Packing or processing meat and poultry
  • Wrecking operations
  • Demolition operations
  • Any work with power-driven machinery
  • Roofing operations
  • Excavation operations
  • Work with balers and compactors
  • Driving and working as outside helpers on motor vehicles

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.