Missouri Labor Laws

March 15th 2024

This article covers:

What are Missouri 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.

Missouri Minimum Wage $12.30
Missouri Overtime 1.5 times the regular wage for any time worked over 40 hours/week
($18.45 for minimum wage workers)
Missouri Breaks Breaks not required by law

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

In Missouri, certain employment practices are considered discriminatory and therefore illegal when hiring new employees. It is unlawful for any employer to make hiring decisions based on stereotypes, prejudice, or discrimination of any kind.

Under the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), employers are prohibited from discriminating against job applicants based on:

  • Age
  • Race or color
  • Religion
  • National origin or ancestry
  • Sex
  • Disability
  • Marriage
  • Ethnicity
  • Place of birth
  • Accent (provided that the person in question is in the country legally)
  • Alcohol/tobacco use

Public employers are allowed to prefer hiring fully qualified veterans or disabled veterans over other applicants.

In Missouri, the at-will employment doctrine is followed, meaning that an employer can terminate an employee at any time and without reason. However, discrimination based on factors such as race, age, sex, or retaliation is prohibited according to this law. Employees, too, are free to resign from their job whenever they wish without any penalties. If someone feels they’ve been discriminated against, they can file a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. Moreover, when an employment contract is terminated, the employer must pay all wages owed immediately. If a discharged employee is not paid on time, they can request payment via certified mail receipt. In case the employer still fails to pay the wages owed, the employee is entitled to additional wages, and may even take legal action against the employer.  

What Are the Key Labor Laws in Missouri?

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

  • COBRA Laws – In Missouri, terminated employees and their dependents (such as spouse and child) have the right to continue using their health insurance coverage for a certain duration after leaving their job. This is due to the application of both federal and state health laws. The federal law, The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), applies to businesses that employ 20 or more full-time workers whereby terminated employees can continue their insurance coverage for 18 to 36 months, after dismissal. However, if the business employs 19 or fewer employees, Missouri State Continuation provides health coverage instead of COBRA. It’s important to note that terminated employees cannot extend their health insurance benefits in case of gross misconduct and this holds true for both federal and state laws.
  • OSHA Laws – Many work-related injuries occur due to the lack of supervision and workplace safety training. Therefore, employers in Missouri are required by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and MSHA to adhere to safety regulations and provide their workers with a secure workplace that is free from known hazards. OSHA recognizes six main types of hazards in the workplace, including biological, chemical, dust, work organization, safety, physical, and ergonomic hazards. OSHA officials have the right to visit a workplace at any time to ensure that safety measures are being implemented correctly. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines of up to $145,027.
  • Whistleblower Laws – Missouri’s Whistleblower Protection Act prohibits employers from penalizing employees who report labor violations to authorities. Those who do receive disciplinary action are entitled to file a case and receive compensation for back pay, medical bills, and double the amount of these remedies. The law applies to employers with 6 or more employees but excludes state agencies, political subdivisions, higher education institutions, state-owned corporations, religious or sectarian organizations.
  • Recordkeeping Laws – If you’re an employer in Missouri, it’s important to know the records you’re required to maintain. These include the name, address, occupation, rate of pay, pay amount per period, hours worked per day and week, and any goods or services provided to employees. It’s also important to note that these records need to be kept on or near the premises for at least three years and should be available for inspection by the director upon request.

Missouri 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 Missouri?

Although the minimum wage in the state is set at $12.30, it only applies to private businesses. For public employers, the minimum wage should not be less than $7.25 per hour, which is the federal minimum wage.

Missouri law mandates that employers must pay their tipped employees a minimum of 50% of the state minimum wage, equating to $6.15 an hour. However, if an employee’s tips, combined with their hourly wages, do not amount to the state minimum wage of $12.30, then it is the employer’s responsibility to bridge the gap. For minors, employers must pay them the state minimum wage of $12.30 an hour. The aforementioned regulations do not cover retail or service businesses that earn less than $500,000 per year.

What are the Exceptions for Minimum Payment in Missouri?

Some employees who are exempted from the minimum wage by federal laws include:

  • Executives, administrative workers, and learned and creative professionals who are paid a salary equal or higher than $684 per week
  • Computer employees who earn $684 per week or more than $27.63 per hour
  • Highly compensated employees earning $107,432 or more per year
  • Outside sales employees

What is the Payment Due Date in Missouri?

As per the law, it is mandatory for all types of businesses, whether small or big, to pay their workers’ wages and salaries twice a month. The payments should be made within 16 days of each payroll cycle. However, there might be exceptions for certain categories of staff, such as sales reps, executives or admin professionals who can receive monthly salaries or commissions.  

What are Missouri Overtime Laws?

If you work over 40 hours per week in Missouri, you’re entitled to overtime pay at one and a half times your regular rate of pay. It’s important to note that you can’t waive your right to overtime pay and opt for straight time instead, as both federal and state laws prohibit this. However, it’s worth mentioning that those who work in amusement or recreation businesses are required to work at least 52 hours per week in order to be eligible for overtime pay.  

What are Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Missouri?

In Missouri, there are federal and state regulations that govern overtime-exempt occupations and employees. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) identifies specific occupations that are exempt from overtime pay, including:

  • Executives, administrative employees, and learned and creative professionals who earn a salary of at least $684 per week
  • Computer employees
  • Highly compensated employees
  • Outside sales employees
  • Those who volunteer for educational, religious, or nonprofit organizations
  • Foster parents
  • Camp workers
  • Students who don’t pay tuition or educational fees
  • Employees who work on or about a private residence for less than six hours per shift
  • Retail or service employees in businesses with an annual gross income of less than $500,000
  • Nonviolent criminal offenders in a correctional facility
  • Certain agricultural workers

However, certain salaried employees in Missouri can still qualify for overtime pay under the Fluctuating Workweek Method (FWW). This permits nonexempt salaried employees to receive an overtime premium of one-half (0.5) times their regular hourly rate, even if their workweek fluctuates. This means that salaried employees who work different hours from week to week can still receive overtime pay. 

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

What are Missouri Time Off/Break Laws?

In Missouri, there aren’t any specific laws pertaining to employee rest or lunch breaks. It’s typically up to the employer and employee to come to an agreement on these breaks in order to improve the productivity of the employee.

What are the Exceptions to Break Law in Missouri?

When it comes to taking breaks at work, most employers do offer some form of break time. However, according to federal law, any breaks lasting between 5 to 20 minutes must be paid work hours. On the other hand, breaks that exceed 20 minutes are not considered work hours and therefore are not eligible for compensation. It’s important to note that employees who work during their designated meal breaks must be paid for that time, such as telephone operators.  

What are Missouri Breastfeeding Laws?

In Missouri, there are no state-level regulations that govern breastfeeding or milk expression in the workplace, meaning that federal laws are applicable instead. According to these laws, employers must allow moms to take reasonable breaks for nursing or pumping breast milk for up to a year after their child’s birth. In addition to that, they must also offer a private area that is not a restroom, intended only for mothers who need to breastfeed or express milk.  

What are Missouri Leave Laws?

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

What is Missouri Required Leave?

  • Holiday Leave – There are 3 extra holidays added besides the federally required ones, and all of them can be seen in the table below.
  • Sick Leave – State employees who work full-time are eligible for fully paid sick leave of 10 hours per month or 5 hours per semi-month of service. For part-time employees, sick leave is allotted on a pro-rata basis, determined by the length of service or hours worked.
  • Family and Medical Leave – The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a law that requires employers to provide eligible employees with 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period. This type of leave can be taken for various reasons, including a serious health condition of the employee, birth or adoption of a child, or care for a family member with a serious health condition. To be eligible for FMLA, an employee must have worked for their employer for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours in the previous year and work in a business with 50 or more employees.
  • Donor Leave – Missouri offers its employees leave time for bone marrow and organ donation, with donors receiving 5 and 30 workdays off, respectively. During this absence, donors are entitled to their base rates.
  • Jury Duty Leave –Jury duty is considered a civic obligation, but Missouri does not require employers to offer paid leave for this service. Employers are prohibited from requiring employees to use vacation, personal, or sick leave for time spent serving on a jury.
  • Voting Leave – In Missouri, every employee who has voting rights is entitled to take three hours off work to vote in any election held within the state. Employers cannot discriminate against employees who want to vote, nor can they deduct any wages for the time taken off to vote.
  • Leave for Victims of Domestic or Sexual Violence –Under the Victims’ Economic Safety and Security Act (VESSA), employees who are victims of domestic or sexual violence are entitled to take unpaid leave from work to seek medical help, counseling, relocation, legal assistance, or other necessary precautions to maintain their safety. This law also extends to employees who have a household member that is a victim of domestic or sexual violence. Employers with 50 or more employees are required to offer up to 2 weeks of unpaid leave to employees who are victims of domestic or sexual violence. For employers with at least 20 but not more than 49 employees, they must provide a total of 1 week of unpaid leave.
  • Volunteering Leave –Individuals who are part of disaster service groups or have official certification as American Red Cross volunteers could have the opportunity to take paid time off from work for an allotted maximum of 120 work hours per year in order to participate in disaster relief efforts. These workers would still be compensated their normal wages for the period that they are absent from their job.
  • Military Leave – Missouri workers are entitled to take a leave of absence for their official duties or training without losing any pay or other benefits. In addition, employees can receive up to 120 hours of paid military leave annually, which is equivalent to three 40-hour workweeks.

What is Missouri Non-Required Leave?

Although not mandated by Missouri law, the decision to offer the following leave benefits is ultimately left to the employer’s discretion:

  • Holiday Leave (Private Employers) – In Missouri, it is not mandatory for private employers to give their workers time off on holidays, whether paid or unpaid. There is also no requirementfor businesses to pay their employees a higher premium for working on these occasions.
  • Vacation Leave – As per the law, employers are not obliged to provide vacation leave to their employees, whether it is paid or unpaid. However, companies can decide to offer this benefit to certain employees while withholding it from others, as long as the decision does not involve discrimination based on factors such as age, race, or gender.
  • Sick Leave (Private Employers) – Currently, employers in the private sector are not legally required to provide their employees with sick leave, whether it be paid or unpaid.
  • Bereavement Leave – When a loved one passes away, whether it’s a family member, colleague, or dear friend, it’s often necessary to take time off work. However, Missouri employers are not legally required to offer bereavement leave to their employees, but usually, companies offer this kind of leave as a perk in the hiring contract.
  • Shared Leave –Missouri’s Shared Leave Program is a great opportunity for eligible employees to lend a helping hand to those who have suffered from catastrophic events such as an illness, injury, etc. The program allows employees to donate their accrued hours to a shared leave pool that can be utilized by the affected employees and their immediate family members. To donate hours, employees are required to have at least 6 months of service performed and cannot donate their sick leave. The shared leave program is voluntary and confidential, and no form of intimidation or threats will be tolerated. Donor employees will not receive any compensation for their generous donations.

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
Lincoln’s Birthday 12 February
Truman Day 8 May
Juneteenth 19 June

Missouri Child Labor Laws

We will discuss both the regulations on working hours for minors and the banned jobs for them.

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

Missouri has specific regulations regarding child labor that apply to minors under the age of 16. Children under 14 years old are generally not allowed to work, with some exceptions to certain fields such as agriculture, entertainment, and casual jobs like babysitting, yard work, and newspaper delivery.

Employers who hire minors must comply with child labor provisions and ensure that minors are trained to recognize workplace hazards and work safely. Work certificates are required for minors under 16, but not for those over 12 who do occasional jobs.

Minors aged 14 and 15 are subject to work time restrictions, including limited work hours and days, depending on whether or not school is in session. Regional fairs have extended working hours until 10:30 p.m.  

What are the Banned Jobs for Minors in Missouri?

There are several categories of prohibited occupations and unacceptable workplaces and tasks for minors under the age of 16. These include:

  • Sales: Door-to-door sales are prohibited except for sales related to churches, scouts, schools, and charitable organizations.
  • Heavy Machinery: Minors are not allowed to operate heavy machinery such as ladders, scaffolding, freight elevators, cranes, and hoisting machines.
  • Manufacturing: Jobs in metal-producing industries including stamping, punching, cold rolling, shearing, or heating are not permitted.
  • Hazardous Materials: Transporting or handling Type A and B explosives or ammunition, and jobs involving ionizing or non-ionizing radiation or radioactive substances are prohibited.
  • Woodworking: Jobs in saw mills, cooperage stock mills, or where woodworking machinery is used are not allowed.
  • Alcoholic Beverage Establishments: Jobs in any alcoholic beverage establishments including selling, manufacturing, bottling, or storing alcohol unless 50 percent of the workplace sales are generated from other goods are prohibited.
  • Dangerous Jobs: Any job that is dangerous to the life, limbs, health, or morals of youth is also prohibited.

What are the Break and Documentation Laws for Minors in Missouri?

Missouri’s regulations for breaks and meal periods vary depending on the industry and age of the employee. For employed minors, neither state nor federal laws impose any specific requirements for break or meal periods.

However, in the entertainment industry, minors are subject to specific regulations for rest and break periods. These regulations mandate that minors in the entertainment industry must have a break of 15 minutes every 2 hours of work, and they cannot work for more than 5.5 hours without a break.

In addition to break and rest periods, Missouri has specific requirements for documentation and record-keeping for minors in employment. Employers who hire minors must have the necessary documentation, including the work certificate, the minor’s name, age, and address, and the timings when the minor worked. Employers are also required to post the “Employer’s Employing Workers Under the Age of 16 List” conspicuously wherever the minor works.  

Learn more in detail about Missouri Child Labor Laws.

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.