Montana Salaried Employees Laws

April 23rd 2024

Salaried employees are individuals who receive predetermined fixed compensation regularly, such as weekly or less frequently.

The state of Montana has established laws and regulations that address the rights and responsibilities of both salaried employees and their employers.

This article presents an overview of these regulations, encompassing topics like payment processes, break and leave privileges, and the differentiation between exempt and non-exempt employees.

This article covers:

Payment of Wages for Salaried Employees in Montana

When it comes to the payment of employees, Montana employers are obligated to provide written notice or visibly display schedules regarding their paydays. Additionally, adhering to legal requirements, employee wages must be disbursed within 10 business days following the scheduled due date.

Salaried Employees Eligibility for Overtime for Montana

Despite common misconceptions regarding salaried employees not being able to receive overtime pay, certain salaried employees can be eligible for overtime.

As such, an employee receiving a salary can be eligible for overtime pay, which is determined partly by the terms of their employment agreement.

To be exempt from overtime, an employee’s job responsibilities should fit within an established job category and they need to receive a certain salary per week.

Pay for Working Overtime for Montana Salaried Employees

Employees who are paid a fixed salary in Montana for a specific number of weekly hours need to first calculate their regular rate before calculating their overtime rate.

The regular rate is determined by dividing the weekly salary by the hours worked. These employees are entitled to (1.5x) the regular rate for overtime.

For instance, if an employee’s salary is $375 for a 40-hour workweek, their regular rate would be computed as follows:

Regular Rate = $375 ÷ 40 hours

Regular Rate = $9.38 per hour

During overtime, this employee would be eligible for 1.5 times the regular rate, which is $14.07 for each hour beyond 40.

Alternatively, if an employment agreement entails a salary that meets minimum wage requirements for every workweek, regardless of the hours worked, the regular rate is computed by dividing the salary by the hours worked weekly. This method allows for a rate that is only (0.5x) the regular rate. For instance, if an employee is paid $450 per week for whatever hours are needed, their regular rate varies with overtime. If they work 50 hours, their regular rate becomes $9 per hour ($450 ÷ 50 hours). On top of their salary, they’re owed half the regular rate for each of the 10 overtime hours, totaling $495 for the week.

Although seemingly difficult, there are various ways for employees to set up overtime rates for their employees as well as ensure overtime compliance. Employees can use time clock software as well as a work hours tracker or various ways of time tracking to ensure the accuracy of the hours for these calculations.

Exceptions to Overtime Exemptions for Montana Salaried Employees

Certain professions are exempt from adhering to the overtime regulations established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These include positions such as:

  • Administrative roles earning a minimum of $684 per week
  • Professional roles earning a minimum of $684 per week
  • Executive roles earning a minimum of $684 per week
  • Outside Sales roles earning a minimum of $684 per week
  • Computer Employees earning a minimum of $684 per week

Learn more in detail about Montana Overtime Laws.

Violation of Salaried Employees Wages Payment in Montana

According to Montana Code Annotated (39-3-206), if an employer neglects to pay an employee according to regulations or infringes upon them, they are committing a misdemeanor offense. 

Additionally, the employer is required to pay the employee a penalty, which should not surpass 110% of the owed and unpaid wages.

Male and Female Salaried Employees in Montana

Under the Montana Code Annotated (39-3-104), it is against the law in Montana for any entity, including the state, county, municipality, school district, private or public corporation, individual, or business, to employ women in any occupation within the state and compensate them at a rate lower than that given to men for similar work, or for the same work category or volume in the same industry, institution, establishment, office, or workplace of any type.

If any of the entities violates the regulations, they are committing a misdemeanor. Upon conviction, they are subject to a fine ranging from $25 to $500 for each offense.

Further, the Montana Human Rights Act (MHRA) establishes that employers cannot engage in discrimination against employees due to characteristics protected by the law, which include factors like sex, race, religion, color, national origin, age, disability, and marital status. The act also considers harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination when linked to a protected characteristic. Furthermore, the MHRA explicitly forbids any form of retaliation against individuals who oppose illegal discrimination, lodge complaints, or take part in investigations related to such discrimination.

Leave Entitlements for Salaried Employees in Montana

In Montana, salaried employees have access to various leave options. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for significant life events, such as childbirth, adoption, or caring for a family member’s health condition. Unpaid jury duty leave is mandated, with employers requiring the employee’s jury summons.

Military leave, under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), ensures unpaid leave and job protection for service members, and the Montana Military Service Employment Right Act (MMSERA) offers up to 120 hours of paid military leave for public employees.

Additionally, Montana law requires employers to provide leave for crime victims and their family members to attend court hearings.

To ensure employees get all their given leave privileges, particularly those contingent on the number of hours worked, work hours tracking may be necessary, or automated time-off tracking to simplify the process.

Break Entitlements for Salaried Employees in Montana

Neither federal nor state regulations in Montana mandate employers to provide breaks to their employees while on the job.

However, if a business has established break policies, specific rules apply. Rest breaks, which encompass breaks of up to 20 minutes, are classified as working time and should be compensated at the standard rate. Conversely, meal periods must extend for a minimum of 30 minutes to be unpaid, during which employees must be relieved from all job responsibilities.

Deductions from Exempt Employees’ Salary in Montana

Exempt employees’ pay deductions are allowed under certain conditions in Montana. Deductions can be made for full-day absences due to personal reasons, except for sickness or disability. Deductions are also permissible for full-day absences caused by sickness or disability if a legitimate plan or policy is followed. Although salaried employees don’t track their attendance necessarily, these are instances where such time and attendance tracking may be helpful.

Absences due to jury duty, witness duty, or temporary military leave cannot have pay deductions, but received fees or pay can offset salary for that week. Exemptions also permit deductions for major safety rule violations and unpaid disciplinary suspensions following a written policy applicable to all employees.

Termination of Employment for Salaried Employees in Montana

In the majority of US states, employment relationships can be ended by either employers or employees at will, without specific reasons. However, Montana differs due to its Wrongful Discharge From Employment Act. This legislation safeguards employees who have completed their probationary period, which extends up to 18 months and allows employers to terminate without cause. Beyond this phase, employee termination requires just cause.

Montana’s employment regulations dictate that if an employee leaves voluntarily, owed wages should be paid by the upcoming payday or within 15 days post-termination, whichever comes first. In cases of termination by the employer, the final paycheck must be provided to the employee immediately upon separation.

Learn more about Montana Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

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.