Montana Labor Laws

March 15th 2024

This article covers:

What are Montana 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.

Montana Minimum Wage $10.30 per hour
Montana Overtime Laws 1.5 times the rate of regular pay after working 40 hours in a workweek
($15.45 per hour for minimum wage workers)
Montana Break Laws Meal and rest breaks not required by law

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

The Montana Human Rights Act prohibits employers, when hiring, from discriminating against job applicants based on certain criteria during the hiring process, such as:

  • Race or color
  • Creed
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Mental disability

In most US states, employers and employees can terminate their work contract without reason due to “at-will” employment policies. However, Montana has a Wrongful Discharge From Employment Act that protects employees after completing their probationary period. The probationary period lasts up to 18 months, where the employee can be fired without just cause. After this period, the employer can only terminate the employee with good reason. Montana’s employer laws also state that when an employee voluntarily leaves, their employer must provide all due wages by the next payday or within 15 days after termination – whichever is first. Finally, if an employee is fired, their final paycheck must be given to them at the moment of separation.

What Are the Key Labor Laws in Montana?

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

  • COBRA Laws – When an employee is terminated or experiences a significant life event, they may be eligible to continue their health insurance. Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), health insurance can be extended for up to 36 months, typically at 102% of the original cost. Qualifying events for continued coverage include termination, reduced work hours, divorce, serious health issues, caring for a sick family member, and more. This federal law applies to businesses with 20 or more employees, and unfortunately, Montana lacks mini-COBRA laws that could protect employees of smaller companies (which are applicable in some US states).
  • OSHA Laws – Montana doesn’t have a state-approved occupational safety plan from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which means it has to follow the regulations in the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act. Additionally, the state agency handles inspections for workplace safety compliance with their standards.
  • Whistleblower Protection Laws – If a person reports misuse of government funds or fraudulent claims for payment, they are protected under the Montana False Claims Act. In case the whistleblower discloses the abuse within 6 years (in some cases extended to 10 years) of its occurrence and experiences retaliation, they can be eligible for: being rehired for their previous position, with the same seniority status; getting twice the amount of back pay, with interest; obtaining compensation for any damages caused by the retaliatory actions. Further, if the state intervenes in the matter, the whistleblower can receive between 15% and 25% of the recovered amount. If they opt to pursue the case themselves, they may be awarded between 25% and 30% of the overall award.
  • Background Check Laws – Montana employers conducting background checks must comply with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). They can only access some information on previous arrests and felony charges, as general members of the public. Employers must obtain written consent from applicants before pursuing pre-employment information.
  • Employer Use of Social Media Laws – In Montana, it’s against the law for employers to ask for personal social media passwords or any information that would allow them access to an employee’s personal social media accounts. It’s also illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who refuses to grant access. The only exception is for social media accounts opened by the employer for business-related purposes.
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing Laws – If an employer wants to do drug and alcohol tests on their employees, they have to go through a qualified testing program. This program demands that the employer has a written policy that includes things like explaining the legal consequences of breaking the law, educating and training their workers on drug and alcohol use, stating the company’s code of conduct for controlling substances, listing what substances they plan to test for, and paying for the testing themselves.
  • Recordkeeping Laws – Employers in Montana are obligated to adhere to specific record-keeping practices regarding their employees. These practices mandate the preservation of particular records for a maximum of 5 years, which include various types of information, such as:
    • The beginning and end date of each pay period
    • Total employee wages for each pay period
    • Employee’s full name and social security number
    • Dates of promotion, discharge, or employee death
    • Any special payments, etc.

Montana 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 Montana?

The minimum wage in Montana is $10.30 per hour. Montana’s Department of Labor & Industry’s Employment Relations Division reviews, on an annual base, the minimum wage annually and adjusts it according to the Consumer Price Index by September 30. The recently established Montana minimum wage must exceed the federal and previous Montana minimum wages.

Montana does not allow tip credits, which means that employers cannot include tips in wage calculations. Tip-receiving employees will receive the same minimum wage as non-tipped workers. While certain US states offer a subminimum wage for a young adult’s first 90 days of employment (training wage) or to individuals with physical or mental disabilities, Montana does not allow any of these types of subminimum wages. The mentioned categories of workers are still eligible to receive the regular minimum wage.

What are the Exceptions for Minimum Payment in Montana?

 There is a group of employers who are allowed to pay their employees a lower minimum wage, as an exception. These employers belong to businesses that are not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), such as:

  • Businesses with a single employee
  • Railroad workers
  • Truck drivers
  • Independent contractors
  • Some types of agricultural workers
  • Casual babysitters

In Montana, a business can be exempted from the minimum wage requirement if it earns less than $110,000 in sales and does not transport goods across state borders. Employers who meet these criteria can pay their workers a minimum wage of $4.00 per hour.

What is the Payment Due Date in Montana?

 Montana employers need to give their employees written notice or post visible schedules about their paydays. In compliance with the law, employee wages need to be paid within 10 business days after the due date.

What are Montana Overtime Laws?

In Montana, federal FLSA rules are used to manage overtime requirements and make exceptions. If you work more than 40 hours in one week, it will be considered as overtime. The rate of overtime pay is 1.5 times your regular pay for all the overtime hours worked. In Montana, this rate stands at $15.45 for every hour worked overtime.

What are the Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Montana?

 There are certain jobs that do not have to follow the overtime rules as outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Examples of these occupations include:

  • Administrative, Professional, Executive and Outside Salespeople who earn at least $684 per week
  • Computer Employees who are paid at least $684 per week

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

What are Montana Time Off/Break Laws?

 It’s important to note that there isn’t any federal or state mandate that requires employers in Montana to offer breaks to their employees during work hours. But, if a company has implemented break policies, then there are certain guidelines to be followed. Rest breaks, which are breaks that last up to 20 minutes, are considered to be working time and should therefore be paid at the regular rate. On the other hand, meal periods must be at least 30 minutes long to be unpaid, and during this time, employees must be relieved of all their duties.

What are Montana Breastfeeding Laws?

 As a measure to support breastfeeding mothers, there exist federal laws that require employers to provide nursing moms with dedicated facilities (that are not washroom cubicles) and adequate break time for expressing breast milk for a year after giving birth. Moreover, Montana has its own state law that bars public employers from discriminating against employees who need to express milk while at work.

What are Montana Leave Laws?

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

What is Montana Required Leave?

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

  • Family and Medical Leave – Montana employees may be able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, following significant life events. These events include giving birth or caring for a newborn, adopting or fostering a child, having a health condition that prevents the employee from working, and caring for a family member with a serious health issue. To be eligible, employees must have been with the same employer for at least a year and have worked at least 1,250 hours in that time.
  • Jury Duty Leave – In Montana, employers have to provide their employees with unpaid leave if they have to attend jury duty. Nevertheless, the employer can ask the employee to provide them with their jury summons. If the employee is necessary for the operation of a state or government agency, the employer may request that they be excused from jury duty under state law subsection. Besides, the employer cannot ask employees to give back any court allowances.
  • Military Leave – Employers, whether public or private, are obligated to provide unpaid military leave under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Upon returning from service, the employee is entitled to all previously held benefits and employment terms. Further, Montana’s MMSERA provides public employees with up to 120 hours of paid military leave per year.
  • Leave For Crime Victims – Employers in Montana are obligated by law to grant time off to employees who have been victims of criminal acts. Similarly, family members of the victims can also request leave of absence to attend court hearings.

What is Montana Non-Required Leave?

The non-required leave types are:

  • Sick Leave – In Montana, private employers are not obliged to grant sick leaves to their employees. However, public employees are entitled to paid sick leaves once they complete a 90-day employment period, with a yearly accrual rate of 12 days.
  • Bereavement Leave – Unfortunately, private employers in Montana are not legally required to offer bereavement leave to their staff. However, it’s worth noting that public sector employees do have the option of using their sick leave if they need to take time off work to attend a funeral for a close family member.
  • Vacation and Holiday Leave – In Montana, private employers are not obligated to offer vacation or holiday leave, unless it is explicitly stated in the employee’s contract. However, full-time state workers start accumulating unpaid vacation leave from their first day on the job and become eligible for paid vacation after 6 months.
  • Emergency Response Leave – Unfortunately, if you work for a public company in Montana, you are not entitled to emergency response leave. However, there is a policy that public employees in the executive branch can take up to 15 days of paid leave in a calendar year to participate in American Red Cross disaster relief services. It’s important to note that this policy doesn’t apply to certain categories of public employees such as Montana State Fund employees, university employees, elected officials, and personally appointed staff members.

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 Montana Child Labor Laws?

 The Child Labor Standards Act in Montana focuses on ensuring that work conditions for minors are not harmful to their education or wellbeing. Typically, child labor laws aim to set guidelines around acceptable working hours and identify occupations that minors are not permitted to partake in.

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

When it comes to working, minors under the age of 16 have certain guidelines to follow. During school hours, they’re allowed to work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., and from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. when classes are not in session. Weekly, they can work a maximum of 18 hours during school days and up to 40 hours when school’s out. Also, they’re not allowed to work more than 3 hours on a school day or 8 hours in a day during non-school days. If you’re aged 16 or 17, there are no specific work limitations you have to follow.

What are the Banned Jobs for Minors in Montana?

Besides limiting the number of hours minors can work, they are also safeguarded from engaging in dangerous jobs like handling explosives, driving vehicles, using heavy machinery, working in logging or sawmills, and slaughtering and processing animals.

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.