Mississippi Labor Law includes regulations governing overtime pay to ensure fair compensation for employees. Non-exempt workers are entitled to receive one and one-half times their regular hourly wage for each hour worked beyond 40 hours in a workweek.
This article will provide information to successfully navigate Mississippi’s overtime regulations, whether you’re an employer aiming for compliance or an employee defending your rights.
This article covers:
- Mississippi Overtime Rates
- Overtime Entitlement in Mississippi
- Overtime for Tipped Employees in Mississippi
- Overtime for Salaried Employees in Mississippi
- Calculating Overtime with Commission in Mississippi
- Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Mississippi
- Statute of Limitations For Unpaid Overtime Claims in Mississippi
- Legal Cases Relating to Overtime Compensation in Mississippi
Overtime law in Mississippi is designed to prevent employees from being exploited by their employers. Employees who work over 40 hours per week are entitled to overtime pay at time-and-a-half (1.5) for every additional hour worked.
Since the regular minimum wage in Mississippi is $7.25 per hour, this means Mississippi’s overtime minimum rate is $10.88 per hour.
According to Mississippi overtime laws, overtime pay is required for non-exempt employees.
Hourly employees who earn below $684 a week ($35,568 annually) and work in a non-exempt industry are entitled to overtime pay.
However, your overall eligibility for overtime pay will be based on what your job duties are as well as what type of business you are in.
Read more about Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Mississippi.
The overtime rate for tipped employees is 1.5 times their regular wage for every overtime hour worked. It is important to note that tipped employees in Mississippi are subject to a lower minimum wage per hour instead of the regular state minimum wage.
The use of a “tip credit” system, which allows employers to pay tipped employees a reduced minimum wage, is permitted by both state and federal legislation. However, a tipped worker must accumulate enough tips to total up to the regular state minimum wage. If their wage, including tips earned, falls below the standard minimum wage, their employer must make up the difference.
That being said, an employer cannot include that tip credit in the calculation of overtime pay. This means that the entire minimum wage (following the Mississippi minimum wage) must be taken into account when calculating overtime pay.
In Mississippi, only certain salaried employees have the right to receive overtime pay. A salaried employee is an individual who receives a predetermined salary, regardless of the actual hours worked. This means that even if they work more than the hours their salary compensates for, they are still entitled to additional compensation for their extra hours.
To determine a salaried employee’s overtime rate, an employer must first determine their employee’s hourly rate by dividing the salary by the number of hours that salary compensates for.
Then, take the hourly pay rate to calculate the overtime rate for salaried employees using the following formula:
Hourly pay rate x Overtime Hours x Overtime Rate (1.5)
It is important to note that if an employee’s salary covers less than 40 (hours) in a workweek, their regular rate will be added for every subsequent hour working up to 40. Only after 40 hours will time-and-a-half be counted.
If an employee’s salary covers 40 (hours) in a workweek, then time-and-a-half will be paid for any hours over 40.
In Mississippi, employees who may receive commissions are still entitled to overtime pay although the rate may differ.
If an employee receives weekly commissions, the commission will be combined with the employee’s weekly wage to get the total earnings for the week. The amount is then divided by the total number of hours worked in the week to determine the regular hourly rate for that week. For any hours worked beyond 40 per week, the employee must be paid additional compensation at a rate of half of the regular hourly rate.
For example, let’s say an employee works 45 hours a week at a rate of $7.25/hour (Mississippi minimum wage) and receives $50 in commissions for that week.
(Total hours x Hourly Rate) + Commission
= (45 x 7.25) + 50
= $376.25 (total earnings for the week)
Then, divide that by the total hours worked in the week.
= 376.25 / 45
=$8.36 (new regular hourly rate)
To determine the overtime rate for the commissioned employees, we need to take that new regular hourly rate and halve it.
$8.36 / 2
Since the employee worked an extra 4 hours in the week, that makes his overtime compensation $20.90 ($4.18 x 5 hours).
The amount will vary according to the hours worked, hourly rate, and commission earned.
In Mississippi, as in many jurisdictions, employees are generally entitled to receive overtime pay for hours worked beyond a standard 40-hour workweek. However, there are exceptions and exemptions to overtime requirements that apply to certain categories of workers and industries. Among the exempted 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
In Mississippi, the statute of limitations for an employee to recover unpaid overtime wages is two years from the date of the violation. For example, an employee who files a lawsuit today can seek the recovery of overtime back wages for only the previous two years. This statute of limitations can be extended to three years if an employer has wilfully or knowingly violated overtime regulations.
Below, we present law cases relating to fair overtime compensation for employees in Mississippi:
1. Parties Come to Mutual Agreement to Resolve Unpaid Overtime Claims
In the case of Smith v. Humphreys County, Kenesha Smith filed a lawsuit against the Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office (Humphreys County) for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Smith claimed that she was not paid for the overtime hours she worked. Humphreys County filed a motion to dismiss the claims, but a settlement agreement was reached before the court ruled on these motions.
Smith and Humphreys County engaged in litigation, which included exchanging discovery to assess the strength of Smith’s claim. To approve the settlement, the court needed to determine that a bona fide dispute was present and that the settlement was fair and reasonable. The fact that both parties engaged in litigation and exchanged discovery indicated that it was a bona fide dispute.
The court found that there was no evidence of fraud or collusion between Smith and Humphreys County. The FLSA claim was not overly complex, but significant expenses were incurred during the litigation process. The settlement amount fell within the upper range of possible recovery and was tied to the underpaid hours of work.
Ultimately, the court approved the settlement agreement, which resolved the dispute between Smith and Humphreys County. Smith’s claims for unpaid overtime wages were settled.
Key lessons from this case:
- A bona fide dispute refers to a genuine disagreement or conflict between parties that is based on legitimate legal or factual issues.
- Active litigation and exchange of information, such as depositions and discovery, can demonstrate the presence of a bona fide dispute.
- A settlement agreement allows both parties to resolve their dispute and reach an agreement without the need for a lengthy and costly trial.
2. Employee Denied Summary Judgment Despite Lack of Response from Employer in Lawsuit
In the case of Gibson v. City of Greenwood, Edgar Gibson filed a complaint against the City of Greenwood (the “City”) for not providing overtime compensation. Byron Granderson was later on added as an additional plaintiff in this complaint. Gibson alleged violations such as failure to pay overtime, improper implementation of the FLSA exception, unpaid travel time, and restricted activities during on-call hours.
Gibson moved for a summary judgment after the City had failed to respond to their requests. He argued that the City’s lack of response meant that the admitted facts should be deemed true, which established the City’s liability for the violations.
The court denied Gibson’s motion for summary judgment without prejudice. The court stated that the admitted facts provided were not sufficient to establish all the necessary elements of Gibson’s claims. To prove an overtime violation, Gibson needed to prove the existence of an employer-employee relationship, activities covered by the FLSA, violations of overtime wage requirements, and the amount of unpaid overtime compensation due.
According to the court, Gibson failed to provide additional evidence or legal analysis to support his claims. The court allowed Gibson to refile his motion within 14 days, which gave him another chance to present a more compelling argument on his end. Until then, the motion was denied.
Key lessons from this case:
- If a party fails to respond to requests for admission, the facts in those requests may be deemed admitted by the court.
- Employees need to provide proper evidence that supports overtime pay claims to establish an FLSA violation.
- An employer’s failure to respond in a lawsuit does not guarantee an employee a summary or default judgment unless they provide sufficient supporting evidence.
3. Employee Negotiated Appropriate Settlement Amount with Employer in Overtime Pay Lawsuit
In the case of Bonner v. Prairie Opportunity, Incorporated, Alice Bonner filed a lawsuit against her former employer, Prairie Opportunity Incorporated (Prairie) for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Bonner claimed that Prairie failed to properly reimburse her for overtime hours worked. Prairie denied these allegations and asserted that Bonner was adequately compensated for any hours she worked beyond the 40-hour threshold.
Bonner and Prairie jointly moved the court to approve a settlement agreement they had negotiated. The settlement entailed a payment of $11,000, with $3,412.50 allocated to Bonner. Half of Bonner’s share was considered wages while the other half was classified as liquidated damages.
After considering the information presented by both Bonner and Prairie, which included job descriptions, records of time worked and wages, and legal factors, the court concluded that the settlement agreement was just and reasonable. The agreement demonstrated a fair compromise that was achieved through negotiations, rather than any form of collusion.
Ultimately, the court approved the joint motion for the settlement agreement and granted dismissal of the case with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled.
Key lessons from this case:
- Proposed settlements for overtime pay complaints must reflect a reasonable compromise over disputed issues and be fair, reasonable, and adequate.
- In an overtime pay case, an employee can be entitled to receive their owed back wages plus additional liquidated damages in the same amount.
- Employees must provide reasonable proof to show that a violation was made by their employer to claim owed back wages.
Learn more about Mississippi Labor Laws through our detailed guide.
Important Cautionary Note
When making this article we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this article. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this article.