Everything You Need to Know About Missouri Wage And Hour Laws
Missouri wage and hour laws are designed to protect employees from being taken advantage of by their employers. Here’s what you need to know if your employer has violated these protections.
Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney
July 23. 2021.
Basics of Wage And Hour in Missouri
Currently, Missouri’s minimum wage is $10.30, but looking back, employers have slowly seen a rate increase. Back in 2020, the minimum wage per hour was $9.45, while in 2019, it was $8.60.
On the other hand, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires a minimum hourly wage of $7.25. If there is a difference between state laws and federal laws, the business owners must pay employees the higher rate.
Under the Missouri Prevailing Wage Law, other employees may need to be paid a lot more than the state minimum wage rate. For example, public work constructors have to be paid a rate in accordance with their work and the county they work in.
The minimum wage law does not apply to public employers.
Understanding Missouri’s Wage And Hour Laws & The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
If your employer takes advantage of you or you have been deprived of the compensation you’re legally entitled to, you might want to ask for legal advice.
There are cases where the Missouri state labor laws differ from the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the Missouri labor laws, employees are protected from the first interview to evaluations, job wages, discipline, or termination.
Tips & Overtime Pay
Tipped employees must be paid at least half of the state minimum wage. With the state minimum wage of $10.30, the tipped employee rate is $5.15. However, if both the tipped minimum wage and the tips don’t reach the amount of $10.30, the employers must pay the difference.
When it comes to overtime pay, the Missouri overtime laws require employers to pay at least one-and-a-half times the employee’s regular pay rate. This only happens when an employee has worked more than 40 hours in a workweek.
Based on specific criteria, recreation and amusement businesses don’t need to pay their workers overtime pay until they work over 52 hours in a workweek.
Then again, an employee is not eligible for overtime pay if their role falls within an exception to the overtime laws. Some employees are exempt from overtime work, such as those working in specific executive, agricultural, professional, or administrative activities.
Meal Period & Break
Missouri has no labor law requiring the employer to offer break time to employees. In that case, the federal laws apply. If an employer chooses to provide a meal period or any breaks, the one lasting less than 20 minutes must be paid.
Under Missouri labor laws, a break is often offered at the discretion of the employer. These aspects should be discussed before accepting a job.
Regarding paid time off (PTO), most employers offer their workers paid leave, such as sick days, vacation time, or paid holidays. Once again, these remain at the discretion of the employers.
However, the law in Missouri states that there are cases when employers are required to offer unpaid leave, including:
- Jury duty;
- Time off to vote;
- Military leave;
- Military family leave; and
- Medical leave.
Additional Laws Under the Missouri Department Of Labor Wage And Hour
More information on Missouri employment laws will be explained further in this article, also outlining how the state’s child labor laws work and what the benefits are.
Child Labor in Missouri
Missouri law states that minors 14 and 15 years of age may work when school is in session. However, the number of hours worked should not be more than three hours per day on school days and more than 8 hours per day on non-school days, adding up to no more than 40 hours per week.
There are no restrictions for minors of 16 and 17 years of age.
According to the Division of Labor Standards, minors under the age of 16 are prohibited from working in a workplace that may endanger their morals or health. These might include:
- Operating power-driven machinery;
- Exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation;
- Working in any establishment where alcohol is manufactured or bottled.
Missouri Wage And Hour Division
The Division of Labor Standards has three sections: Wage and Hour, On-Site Safety and Health Consultation Program, and Mine and Cave Safety. The Division has the power to determine and enforce Missouri’s child labor law and the minimum wage laws. They offer free consultations for employers to make sure they comply with regulations.
Exceptions to Minimum Wage And Hour Missouri Laws
Missouri’s employment laws offer reasonable guidance on many topics so that employers know what they are required to pay for, minimum wage rates, the time worked, hourly wage, overtime, and the like.
While most employers are obligated to prevail over the minimum wage rate, there are a few exceptions. Service or retail companies with an annual gross income less than $500,000 are allowed by Missouri law and federal law to determine their own wage rate. To see an extended list of exemptions, you can refer to the United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division or reach out to a local legal professional.
How To Report Wage And Hour Violations
If you are denied the required minimum wage and/or payment for overtime hours worked, you can recover the wages you’re owed. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) obligates employers to pay at least the federal minimum wage.
When you don’t receive the minimum wage rates, you may consider filing a wage and hour violations complaint. You can do so by filling a complaint by mail or in person at the Office of the Wage and Hours Division (WHD) of the Department of Labor.
When you address your complaint, you need to include:
- Your name, address, and phone number;
- The employer’s name, address, phone number, and the type of business;
- Your job title;
- Your payments information;
- Description of the related violations; and
- Dates of the violations.
Reports should be filed within two years from the date of violation if the report is based on an oral agreement and within four years from the date of violation if the report is based on a written agreement.
Separately, if you work in Missouri and you believe that your legal rights have been violated, you should seek trusted and skilled help from a Missouri employment lawyer. Upon a free consultation, your Missouri attorney will help determine whether the employer has violated your rights under state or federal law and will begin taking action to achieve justice in your case. Contact our Kansas City law firm at 816-281-0941 for more information about employment law in Missouri and begin moving forward.
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