Compliance Watch:
What are my rights as an hourly employee in Wyoming?

March 11th 2024

Knowing your rights in relation to hourly employment extend beyond mere legal requirements; they empower your professional growth and provide you with the confidence needed to help steer the course of your career journey.

The earnings you generate with every passing day, as you punch in and out, play a significant role in your professional standing. With employment laws and regulations varying from state to state, you might ponder about your particular employment entitlements and how they are in line with the regulations of your state.

Hence, this article is designed to answer your questions pertaining to various employment aspects, offering the essential knowledge needed to protect your legal rights throughout your professional journey.

This Article Covers

Defining an Hourly Employee in Wyoming
Wage and Hour Regulations in Wyoming
Rest Laws in Wyoming
Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in Wyoming
Termination of Employment in Wyoming

Defining an Hourly Employee in Wyoming

What is Hourly Employment in Wyoming?

In essence, an hourly employee can be referred as a worker who is largely compensated on the hours worked in a given pay period, resulting in a variable income from one pay cycle to the next.

To ensure hourly employees are precisely compensated, time tracking tools are typically employed to monitor their billable work hours. Conversely, salaried employees earn a fixed annual salary regardless of their actual working hours.

Moreover, while hourly employees may be eligible to earn overtime compensation, they often receive fewer job-related benefits, such as health coverage and retirement plans, compared to salaried workers.

What are the Key Differences Between Salaried and Hourly Employees in Wyoming?

Aspect Hourly Employees Salaried Employees
Compensation Paid per hour worked. Paid on a monthly or bimonthly basis. 
Overtime Pay Entitled to earn overtime compensation of 1.5 times the regular hourly wage. May not be entitled to earn overtime compensation of 1.5 times the regular hourly wage.
Minimum wage Entitled to earn the federal minimum wage of $7.25. May not be entitled to earn the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
Employment benefits Lesser job benefits. More job benefits.
Rest and Meal Breaks No entitlement to mandatory rest and meal breaks. No entitlement to mandatory rest and meal breaks.
Compensation Stability Compensation is contingent on hours worked. Compensation is not contingent on hours worked.

To learn more about Wyoming labor laws, you can access our informative guides on understanding your rights as a salaried employee in Wyoming and discovering how to run payroll in Wyoming.

Wage and Hour Regulations in Wyoming

What are the Maximum Weekly Working Hours in Wyoming?

While employment laws at both state and federal levels do not set a specific weekly work-hour limit, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) mandates that employers compensate employees with a pay rate of 150% of their regular hourly wage if they work more than 40 hours in a week. Therefore, in light of this information, it can be deduced that a typical work week comprises 40 hours.

What is the Minimum Wage for Hourly Employees in Wyoming?

Wyoming’s statutory provisions have set the current minimum hourly wage at $5.15. Since the state’s minimum wage is lower than the federal minimum wage of $7.25, the federal minimum wage laws  take precedence as it offers a higher wage rate to employees. Hence, hourly employees in Wyoming are paid the federally mandated minimum wage for every hour worked.

Therefore, in compliance with the federal minimum wage requirement, an hourly wage employee working in Wyoming would generally earn a minimum pay of $290 in a regular 40-hour workweek.

Do All Employees Earn the Minimum Wage in Wyoming?

While certain employees acquire the right to earn the federally prescribed minimum hourly pay, it must be acknowledged that the FLSA establishes legal exceptions for certain categories of employees from the federal minimum wage and overtime regulations. The employees excluded from earning both overtime pay and the federal minimum wage are as follows:

  • Full-time students: High school or college students who work part-time may receive a minimum hourly wage of $6.16, which is 85% of the federal minimum wage requirement, for up to 20 hours of work in a week.
  • Tipped Employees: Employees who earn tips are allowed to receive an hourly wage lower than that of the federal minimum wage, only if the tips combined with the hourly wage, meet the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
  • Employees below 20 years old: Federal law provisions allow employees below the age of 20 years to receive a minimum pay of $4.25 per hour within the first 90 days of commencing employment. After 90 days, employees must be paid the federal minimum wage.
  • Employees who volunteer for educational, charitable, religious, or nonprofit organizations.
  • Employees whose occupation involves driving an ambulance or another vehicle from time to time when necessary but who is on call at any time.
  • Employees working in agriculture.
  • Employees working in domestic service that work in or about a private home.
  • Employees working for the United States, the state, or any political subdivision.
  • Outside salespeople.
  • Administrative, executive, or professional employees.
  • Employees who are computer professionals.

How Many Hours Qualify As Overtime and What is the Associated Pay in Wyoming?

According to the legal provisions of the FLSA, overtime hours are any hours worked over 40 hours in a single work week in which employees must be compensated at a fixed hourly pay rate of one and a half times their regular hourly pay. Hence, an hourly employee in Wyoming typically earns an overtime pay rate $10.88 for every hour worked overtime.

Rest Laws in Wyoming

What are the Offered Meal and Rest Breaks for Hourly Employees in Wyoming?

While lunch and rest breaks help to boost productivity levels and improve the overall wellbeing of employees amongst other benefits, it is important to note that the federal laws of the U.S. do not actually mandate employers to provide work breaks. Although some U.S. states have implemented their own break laws, the state of Wyoming does not follow suit. 

Due to the absence of break laws in the state, the federal break laws in relation to compensation take precedence. Hence, if employers decide to extend such breaks, rest breaks that are 20 minutes or less in duration must be compensated for while meal breaks that last 30 minutes or longer may remain unpaid for as long as the employee is able to do what they wish during the break.

In spite of the absence of break laws at both federal and state levels, Wyoming’s statutory provisions prioritize the significance of breastfeeding in relation to the health of both mother and child and mandate employers to accommodate employees with breaks for the purpose of expressing milk or breastfeeding. In addition, the statute excludes nursing mothers from being subjected to public indecency and entitles them to the right to nurse their infants at any location where they have a right to be.

What Laws Govern Time Off and Leaves for Hourly Employees in Wyoming?

Companies in the U.S. generally grant employees leaves of absence to address personal, medical, or family matters. Some of these leaves are governed by state or federal laws that require employers to provide leave to eligible employees who meet the necessary requirements. In Wyoming, several types of leave are mandated by state and federal law, ensuring that employees have the legal right to use them. These leaves include:

  • Jury duty leave: According to Wyoming’s employment laws, Employers are not required to pay employees for the time spent responding to a jury summons and are prohibited from taking any adverse personnel actions against those who serve jury duty.
  • Witness leave: An employee who responds to a subpoena in a criminal case is prohibited from having any adverse personnel actions taken against them by their employer.
  • Voting leave: As per the statutory laws of Wyoming, If employees do not have 3 consecutive off-work hours to vote in an election, employers must provide them with 1 hour of paid leave to vote.
  • Military leave: Employees who are military members are entitled under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act to take leave for the purpose of serving the military. Furthermore, the employee is entitled to be reinstated with the same sick leave, vacation, and annual leave that they would have otherwise accrued had they not taken military leave. Employees must also not be terminated without cause by their employer for one year.
  • Family and medical leave: The federal provisions under The Family and Medical Leave Act grants eligible employees with 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave every year for qualifying family or serious health reasons. Employees are only qualified to use this leave if: 
    • They were hired by the same employer for at least 12 months before utilizing the leave.
    • They have worked for a minimum of 1,250 hours within those 12 months of working under the same employer. 
    • They are hired by an employer with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.

Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in Wyoming

What are the Laws Regarding Pay Deductions for Hourly Employees in Wyoming?

An employer may withhold wages from an employee’s paycheck for a multitude of reasons and many states in the U.S. have introduced their own laws regulating the legality of wage deductions made by employers. In Wyoming, it is essential to note that your employer may deduct from your wages if it concerns the reasons below:

  • Cash shortages
  • Broken, damaged, or destroyed company property
  • Required tools and uniforms
  • Other necessary items required for employment

In addition to this, employers are obligated by state law to provide you with an itemized statement with every paycheck outlining all the deductions that have been made from your wages.

What are the Provided Hourly Employees Entitlements Under Wyoming State Law?

As an hourly employee in the state of Wyoming, it is worth acknowledging that there are several employment rights and compensation benefits that you are rightly entitled to acquire in the course of your employment. Below are some of the many work entitlements that you have:

  • Minimum wage: The federal minimum wage requirement entitles you to earn the federally mandated hourly minimum wage of $7.25. 
  • Overtime: As an hourly employee in Wyoming, you are entitled under federal law to earn overtime pay for working over 40 hours in a week at a fixed pay rate of one and half times their regular hourly wage.
  • Worker’s compensation insurance: The Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) applies to all employees whose occupations are extra-hazardous in nature or those employers that elect coverage pursuant to this Act. If you have have sustained work-related injuries arising out of and in the course of their employment, you are rightly entitled to receive various kinds of benefits under the Act. Furthermore, according to the Act, you are required to promptly report your workplace injury to your respective employer in order to prevent the denial of such benefits.
  • Unemployment insurance benefits: This insurance aims to financially support employees who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. If you are unemployed and actively seeking new job opportunities, unemployment insurance will partially cover for your lost wages during periods of unemployment. Furthermore, employers are solely responsible for the contribution of this coverage.
  • Right-to-work: According to Wyoming’s statutory laws, an employee cannot be denied nor diminished employment based on their membership or non-membership in a labor union or organisation. Employees are also not required to make payments or refrain from paying dues, fees or others charges to a labor union or organisation. 
  • Extended health insurance benefits: The federal provisions of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows employees to extend their health insurance benefits after separating from their employment. Since the federal COBRA applies only to employers that have 20 or more employees, many U.S. states have made their own version of the law, commonly referred to as “mini-COBRAs”. The mini-COBRA of Wyoming allows you to continue your health benefits for up to 12 months. Each individual certification of coverage must contain a notice of the right to continue coverage.

What are the Provided Hourly Employee Protections Under Wyoming State Law?

There are several laws implemented at federal and state level that serve to protect employees from the occurrence of injustice at the workplace. These laws protect employees in various aspects of their employment, which relate to their health and safety, discrimination, the reporting of unlawful work practices and more. Below are some of the primary laws that protect employees in Wyoming.

  • Whistleblower protection laws: Wyoming’s whistleblower laws prohibit employers from discharging or discriminating against an employee who decides to: report a violation of workplace safety requirements, participate in a workplace safety investigation or report a legal violation of equal pay.
  • Child labor laws: Wyoming’s statutes expressly prohibit the employment of minors in occupations that involve operating heavy construction equipment, having contact with explosives or dangerous chemicals, or any occupation that is deemed hazardous by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services. Minors that are 14 years of age are only allowed to work in occupations involving farm, domestic, and lawn or yard service. Furthermore, employers are required to keep the proof of age of minor employees below the age of 16.
  • Anti-discrimination laws: The civil rights law of Wyoming mirrors federal laws in the sense that it forbids an employer from discriminating against an employee based on their race, religion, color, sex, national origin, handicap, qualified disability, or age. According to Wyoming’s statute, an employee has a six month timeframe from the date that the wrongful act was committed to file a complaint with the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services.
  • Equal pay protection laws: The Equal Pay Laws of Wyoming protects employees from being unfairly paid based on their sex for work that requires equal skill, effort and responsibility and which are performed under similar working conditions. Furthermore, an employer is only allowed to pay different rates when the grounds for such differences are based on the seniority system, merit system, system that measures earnings according to the production quantity and quality, geographic location where work is done, training or travel. This law is applicable to all public and private employers in the state, regardless of size.

Termination of Employment in Wyoming

What are the Termination Laws for Hourly Employees in Wyoming?

Wyoming is among the many states in the U.S. that adheres with the employment-at-will doctrine. This suggests that both the employer and employee are at liberty to discontinue the employment relationship at any time, without having to reveal their particular reasons for doing so. As an hourly employee, it is important to be mindful that while these laws typically take effect, there are several noteworthy exceptions that legally constrains an employer’s right to terminate an employment relationship in certain circumstances. These exceptions include:

  • Breach of contract: In any scenario when an employer enters into a contractual agreement with an employee, breaching that contract can lead to legal ramifications. In certain circumstances, these contractual terms may outline that the employee is not considered an at-will worker, thereby relinquishing the employer’s capacity to end the employment relationship for any reason or at any time. Some contracts may explicitly outline the only conditions under which an employee may be terminated, such as poor work performance. In situations like these, it is crucial for an employer to honor the terms of the contract, whether it has been established verbally or in writing.
  • Public policy: An exception of public policy forbids an employer from terminating an employee if the grounds of termination would contravene public policy rules. For instance, the employment laws of Wyoming makes it illegal for an employer to terminate an employee for refusing to participate in an illegal activity on behalf of the employer or for filing a workers’ compensation claim in which they are rightly entitled to do.
  • Retaliation: Federal and state laws protect employees from being retaliated against by employers for engaging in protected activities such as testifying in court, participating in discrimination hearings or asserting their legal right. Furthermore, the state has implemented its own laws that prohibit retaliation against an employee who files a claim for equal pay, who has been reinstated for a year after taking their military leave and for taking leaves that are mandated by law (such as jury duty leave, military leave and taking leave under the Family Medical Leave Act).
  • Discrimination: Wyoming has adopted the federal laws banning discrimination in the workplace. The state’s anti-discrimination law protects employees from being discriminated against for their sex, national origin, race, ethnicity, age, color, religion, pregnancy, citizenship status or genetic information as well as their military service or status. Additionally, employees cannot be terminated for their consumption of tobacco that is unrelated to their work qualification.

Moreover, if you have been terminated in your employment, the statutory laws of Wyoming require that employees be given their final paychecks by the next regularly scheduled payday.

Should Severance Pay Be Provided to Hourly Employees in Wyoming?

Severance pay refers to the monetary compensation offered by an employer to an employee when their employment comes to an end. This compensation is usually determined by the employee’s tenure with the company and is designed to provide temporary financial assistance while the employee seeks for new employment opportunities.

Nevertheless, although severance pay abounds with various advantages for employees, there are no state or federal laws that mandate or prohibit the offering of such payments. Thus, severance pay is instead, a matter of agreement between an employer and an employee and must only be given if the stipulations of the employment contract or collective bargaining agreement requires the employer to do so.

Final Thoughts

To wrap up, it is essential for hourly employees in Wyoming to acquire a solid grasp of their employment rights. Having a strong awareness of your legal entitlements is crucial in not only preventing workplace exploitation and discrimination, but also in the maintenance of your overall wellbeing at work.

Given the ever-evolving structure of employment laws, keeping abreast with the latest advancements can help you make well-considered choices in your professional journey as well as  secure your employment rights.

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.