Employees across numerous industries frequently find themselves working beyond their regular hours, exceeding the standard workday or the typical 40-hour workweek.
In order to comply with labor laws, it is the obligation of employers to appropriately compensate these employees for the additional time worked. It is equally important to understand the eligibility criteria, potential consequences of non-compliance, and the correct rates of overtime compensation.
In the state of Missouri, if an employee works more than 40 hours per week, they are entitled to receive overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times their regular rate of pay, as per Missouri Labor Laws. The objective of this guide is to address common questions and provide relevant court cases specific to Missouri, presenting the necessary steps to ensure fair execution and payment of overtime.
This article covers:
- Missouri Overtime Rates
- Overtime Entitlement in Missouri
- Refusing to Work Overtime in Missouri
- Overtime Pay for Tipped Employees in Missouri
- Overtime for Salaried Employees in Missouri
- Calculating Missouri Overtime with Commission
- Waving Overtime on Missouri
- Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Missouri
- Misclassifying Employees in Missouri
- Legal Cases Relating to Overtime Compensation in Missouri
Overtime in Missouri is pegged at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for workers who exceed 40 hours a week.
Since the regular Missouri minimum wage is $12.30 per hour, Missouri’s overtime minimum wage is $18.45 per hour (one and a half times the minimum wage).
Unlike certain states that have a daily overtime threshold, where employees who work beyond a specific number of hours in a single day are entitled to receive overtime pay, Missouri does not establish a specific daily overtime limit.
Therefore, employees in Missouri are eligible for overtime compensation once they have worked more than 40 hours in a given workweek, regardless of the number of hours worked in a single day.
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.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) automatically includes certain types of workers who meet the overtime pay requirements and entitles them to receive overtime compensation for all hours worked beyond 40 in a single week.
Typically, non-exempt hourly employees who earn less than $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 annually) are generally eligible for overtime pay.
Neither state nor federal laws impose any restrictions on the maximum number of hours a standard employee can be compelled to work in Missouri.
Additionally, it is within your employer’s authority to demand that employees work overtime even with minimal advance notice.
Refusal to comply with such a request may result in termination or other forms of penalties imposed by your employer.
Both state and federal regulations allow employers to utilize a “tip credit” system, which enables them to pay tipped employees a lower minimum wage (50% of the minimum wage).
However, in Missouri when it comes to overtime pay, the calculation is based on the full minimum wage without any deductions typically permitted for tip credits.
In other words, employers must consider the full minimum wage amount when determining overtime compensation and cannot factor in tip credits as part of the calculation.
Although it is common that salaried employees are exempt from overtime pay, 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.
When determining overtime compensation in Missouri, payments such as commissions, bonuses, and other forms of incentive pay tied to sales or production are considered in the calculation of the regular rate.
This means that if you earn an hourly wage of $10 and receive a weekly commission of $40, your overtime pay rate would be calculated based on an hourly rate of $11.
This is determined by dividing the $40 commission by the 40 hours worked, resulting in an additional $1 per hour that is factored into your overtime rate calculation alongside your regular hourly wage of $10.
It’s important to note that you can’t waive your right to overtime pay in Missouri and opt for straight time (normal working hours, paid at a regular rate) instead, as both federal and state laws prohibit this.
Certain job categories, including executives, professionals, and administrative employees, are exempt from overtime pay depending on their job description and salary.
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
Workers who are appropriately classified as independent contractors according to Missouri law are typically entitled to receive only the specific compensation agreed upon in the contract, without eligibility for additional overtime pay.
While there are instances where individuals legitimately operate their own businesses and are correctly classified as independent contractors, thus exempt from receiving overtime pay, employers are prohibited from misrepresenting employee positions in order to evade providing overtime compensation.
This means that an employer cannot state that a dependant employee is an independent contractor just so that they may not pay them their due overtime wage.
Several factors are taken into account when determining whether a worker in Missouri is considered an employee or an independent contractor.
Below, we present law cases relating to fair overtime compensation for employees in Missouri:
1. Missouri State Ordered to Pay $128 Million in Prison Worker Overtime Case
The case Hootselle v. Missouri Department of Corrections, initiated in 2012, claimed that the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC) failed to appropriately compensate guards for overtime hours worked across the state’s 20 correctional facilities.
Guards claimed that they were not paid for the time in which they arrived at the prison premise and need to undergo thorough searches and a metal detector, surrender personal belongings, and remain in uniform near inmates, ready to respond at all times. They also dedicate time to exit procedures, shift communication, and inventory checks for weapons and equipment, for which they were also not compensated.
As a result, pending in the Cole County circuit court, a preliminary settlement agreement found the guards in the right and will result in current and former prison workers in Missouri receiving a portion of up to $128 million.
The settlement talks have been underway for more than two years after a Cole County jury in 2018 ordered the state to pay $113.7 million to compensate an estimated 13,000 past and present correctional officers.
Further, beginning July 1, 2022 current prison guards and sergeants will be paid an extra 15 minutes of overtime for each shift they work for the next eight years.
Key lessons from this case:
- The settlement agreement includes provisions for future wage adjustments, demonstrating the recognition of ongoing concerns regarding overtime pay.
- The case highlights employees’ legal recourse to recover unpaid wages and seek compensation for labor law violations, emphasizing their right to file lawsuits and obtain redress for fair compensation.
- Employers need to accurately track, keep a record of, and compensate employees for all hours worked, including any additional time spent on tasks before or after their scheduled shifts.
2. Bravo Brio Restaurant Settles $4 Million Overtime Class Action Lawsuit with Servers
Filed in 2016, the Husein v. Bravo Brio Restaurant Group Inc. case involved 8,671 servers who claimed that Bravo Brio Restaurant Group violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by failing to properly pay them minimum wage and overtime.
The class action lawsuit has been brought to an end with a $4 million restaurant wage and hour settlement.
The servers (both current and former — within three years of the date of filing) allege that the restaurant group required them to spend more than 20% of their workday completing non-tipped activities working away from customers.
Bravo Brio agreed to pay $4 million in 2017 to resolve claims the restaurant group failed to provide its workers with legal minimum wage and overtime compensation at its Bravo Cucina Italiana, Bravo Tuscan Grille, and Bon Vie Bistro restaurants in 32 U.S. states. The class asked for the settlement to be approved by a Missouri federal court.
Key lessons from this case:
- The case highlights the importance of employers complying with wage and hour laws, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
- The lawsuit underscores the significance of correctly classifying employees, particularly in industries with tipped employees. Employers must accurately distinguish between tipped and non-tipped work activities and ensure that employees are compensated accordingly for all hours worked, including non-tipped activities.
- The case demonstrates the potential for class action lawsuits when a large number of employees share similar grievances regarding wage and hour violations.
3. Kansas City, Missouri Reaches $2 Million Settlement with Firefighters over Overtime Lawsuit
In the case of Adams v. the City of Kansas City, Missouri, 383 current and former firefighters of the City of Kansas City, Missouri alleged in a lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri in 2019, that the city failed to include specialty/incentive pay in their regular rate of pay as required by the FLSA.
The City reached a global settlement agreeing to pay over $2 million to the firefighters for overtime work in the three years prior to filing the lawsuit, costs of litigation, and attorney fees.
The settlement designates $300,000 for attorney fees and litigation costs, while the remaining $1,760,192.83 will be distributed among nearly 400 of the accusing firefighters based on their hours worked prior to the lawsuit.
Key lessons from this case:
- The FLSA mandates that all employee remuneration, with few exceptions, must be factored into the regular rate of pay to ensure proper calculation of overtime wages. Failing to include all remuneration results in employees receiving less overtime pay than legally required.
- It is imperative that professionals responsible for managing their employees’ hours worked and compensation understand the FLSA’s basic requirements.
- Certain occupations require meticulous calculations and awareness when it comes to work hours and overtime. The case highlights how this is important particularly since calculating a firefighter’s regular rate of pay is complex due to additional compensations like wage augments, such as longevity and shift differentials, that must be included.
- Mistakes in wage calculations can have significant consequences, especially considering the frequent and extensive overtime worked in today’s fire service. It is not uncommon for firefighters to work 20 or more hours of overtime in a single week on a continuous basis.
Learn more about Missouri Labor Laws through our detailed guide.
Important Cautionary Note
When making this guide 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 guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.