Missouri Wage and Hour Laws

State wage and hour laws include the minimum wage and various types of employee leave, in addition to covering overtime, meals, and breaks. Employee lawsuits against Missouri employers frequently involve Missouri wage and hour laws. The following table highlights the main provisions of Missouri's wage and working hour laws.

Code Sections

Missouri Revised Statutes Title 18: Labor and Industrial Relations

Minimum Wage

$7.50 (2014) In the past, the Missouri minimum wage was the same as the federal minimum wage, but since 2008 has been tied to a cost of living index to increase or decrease when the cost of living increases or decreases.

Prevailing Wage

Missouri has a special minimum wage rate that varies by county and type of work that's applicable only to workers on public works construction projects in Missouri. This includes building bridges, roads, and government buildings for state and local governments.

Overtime

Beginning at 40 hours per week (not 8 hours per day), employees must get overtime pay of at least 1.5 times the employee's regular rate of pay. You can't waive this right and employers asking you to do so are breaking the law.

Meals & Breaks

Missouri law doesn't require employers to provide a lunch hour, although many employers do provide this. Even workers under 16 aren't entitled to breaks (exception: youth under 16 in the entertainment industry must be given a 15 minute paid rest period every 2 hours and a meal break if they work 5.5 hours).

Leave

Vacation and holiday pay isn't required. Sick leave doesn't have to be paid, but the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may apply, providing eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave a year for birth or adoption of a baby, care of a sick family member, or medical leave for themselves.

Severance Pay

Severance pay is not required, although some employers provide it at their discretion.

Reduction in Wages

Missouri law requires that employers give their employees a 30-day notice of a reduction in wages. This doesn't apply when an employee is asked to work fewer hours or change jobs to a different one with different duties.

Termination & Final Wages

Missouri is an "at-will" employment state, meaning either the employer or the employee can end the working relationship, as long as it's not to discriminate based on race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, etc. or contradicts the employment contract. Employees must be paid all wages due on the date of dismissal.

Enforcement Agency

The agency to contact depends on the type of employment related problem you’ve experienced:

  • To receive back wages you're owed as you were paid at a rate below the minimum wage, contact the Division of Labor Standards at 573-751-3403 or minimumwage@labor.mo.gov, you will also need to complete the Minimum Wage Complaint Form. If you were paid above minimum wage, but below what you were contracted to be paid, this department can't help you, but you can consult with an experienced Missouri employment attorney for assistance.
  • To receive back wages that were less than the prevailing wage for a government construction project, but more than minimum wage, contact the Division of Labor Standards at 573-751-3403 or fill out the complaint form online.
  • For discrimination in hiring, firing, or other areas of employment, file a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights online or at 1-877-781-4236.

Penalties

Penalties for violating Missouri wage and hour laws vary based on what law was violated. Some of the possible penalties include:

  • Prevailing Wage: The employer forfeits as a penalty to the state, county, city, or other government for whom the work construction is being done $100 for each worker for each day the worker is paid less than the prevailing wage, which is specified in the contract. This includes any subcontractors. The government can pay that amount less to the contractor and the contractor can withhold that amount from, or sue for if already paid, the subcontractor whose failure to pay the prevailing wage incurred the penalties.
  • Reduction in Wages: If an employer fails to provide employees 30-day notice of a reduction in wages, the company will owe $50 per affected person.
  • Working Hours: A company that violates the 8 hour working day in any kind of mining, mechanical, chemical manufacturing or smelting job, can be fined anywhere between $25 to $500.
  • Child Labor Laws: Any company breaking the wage and hour laws for children in Missouri can be criminally punished as a Class C misdemeanor with a maximum of 15 days in jail and an up to a $500 fine. Civilly, the company can owe between $50 to $1,000 for each violation.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Missouri employment attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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