Labor and Employment Law Overview: Mississippi

Labor and Employment Law Overview requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: XpertHR Editorial Team

Summary

  • A Mississippi employer is prohibited from taking adverse employment action against employees because of how they vote or based on military service. See EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations.
  • Under Mississippi law, an employer has verification and reporting obligations for new hires. See Recruiting and Hiring.
  • Mississippi law limits the occupations and number of hours minors may work. See Wage and Hour.
  • Mississippi has its own mini-COBRA law. See Pay and Benefits.
  • Under Mississippi law, employees are entitled to certain leaves, including military leave, jury duty leave and crime victim leave. See Attendance and Leave.
  • Whether vacation pay must be included in employees' final paychecks depends on the employer's policy. See Organizational Exit.

Introduction to Employment Law in Mississippi

Mississippi is generally considered an employer-friendly state.

Select Mississippi employment requirements are summarized below to help an employer understand the range of employment laws affecting the employer-employee relationship in the state. An employer must comply with both federal and state law.

An employer must also comply with applicable municipal law obligations affecting the employment relationship, in addition to complying with state and federal requirements.

EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations

Key Mississippi requirements impacting EEO, diversity and employee relations are:

Political Activities

A Mississippi employer may not direct or coerce an employee to vote or not vote in a particular manner, or to engage in political activities. Threats or coercive actions include:

  • Terminating or threatening to terminate an employee;
  • Increasing or decreasing an employee's wages; and
  • Promoting or demoting an employee.

Discrimination Against Military Personnel

A Mississippi employer may not terminate or discriminate against current or former members of the US armed forces.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on EEO, diversity and employee relations practices in Mississippi can be found in the Mississippi Employee Handbook Table of Contents, EEO - Discrimination: Mississippi and Employee Discipline: Mississippi. Federal requirements can be found in EEO - Discrimination: Federal and Employee Discipline: Federal.

Recruiting and Hiring

Key Mississippi requirements impacting recruiting and hiring are:

Drug and Alcohol Testing

As a condition of employment, a Mississippi employer may require job applicants to submit to neutral selection drug and alcohol testing. All information obtained through drug and alcohol testing programs is confidential.

An employer that chooses to require preemployment drug and alcohol testing must notify the applicants in writing upon submission of the application and prior to collection of the test specimen.

Applicants who submit to a drug test must be given an opportunity to provide relevant information, such as the current or recent use of prescription or nonprescription medication. An employer may not refuse to hire an applicant due to a positive test result that has not been verified by a confirmation test conducted by a laboratory.

The employer pays the cost of drug and alcohol tests, except job applicants pay the cost of additional testing.

New Hire Reporting

A Mississippi employer must report newly hired and rehired workers to the Mississippi State Directory of New Hires (MSDNH) within 15 days after the date of hire or rehire. Reports may be filed online at the MSDNH, electronically via secure file transfer or by mail or fax and must include:

  • The employee's name, address, Social Security Number, date of birth and gender;
  • The employee's salary and pay frequency, the date the employee first performed services for pay and medical insurance eligibility;
  • The employee's state of hire (only if a multistate employer); and
  • The employer's Federal Employer Identification Number, State Employer Identification Number and the business name and address where income withholding orders for child support should be sent.

Verification of Work Eligibility

Mississippi's Employment Protection Act requires all employers to use the federal Electronic Verification System (E-Verify) to verify the employment authorization status of all newly hired employees and only hire employees who are legal citizens of the US or who are legal aliens.

Additionally, third-party employers (defined as any person or company that provides workers for another person or company, which includes leasing companies and contract employers) that conduct business in Mississippi are required to provide proof of registration and participation in the E-Verify program to any Mississippi employer with whom they do business.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on recruiting and hiring practices in Mississippi can be found in the Mississippi Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Preemployment Screening and Testing: Mississippi, New Hire Reporting: Mississippi, Immigration, Form I-9 and Work Visas: Mississippi and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Mississippi? Federal requirements can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: Federal, New Hire Reporting: Federal and Immigration, Form I-9 and Work Visas: Federal.

Wage and Hour

Key Mississippi requirements impacting wages and hours are:

Breastfeeding Breaks

A Mississippi employer may not prohibit employees from expressing breast milk during any meal or rest period provided by the employer.

Child Labor

Child labor laws in Mississippi restrict the occupations in which minors may be employed and the number of hours and times during which they may work.

Minors under the age of 14 may not be employed or permitted to work in any mill, cannery (except a fruit or vegetable cannery), workshop, factory or manufacturing establishment in Mississippi. Minors between the ages of 14 and 16 may not work in these facilities:

  • For more than eight hours per day;
  • For more than 44 hours per week; or
  • Between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

Minors under the age of 17 may not be issued a license to drive any motor vehicle while in use as a school bus or a public or common carrier.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on wage and hour practices in Mississippi can be found in the Mississippi Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Child Labor: Mississippi and Hours Worked: Mississippi. Federal requirements can be found in Child Labor: Federal and Hours Worked: Federal.

Pay and Benefits

Key Mississippi requirements impacting pay and benefits are:

Health Care Continuation

Mississippi's health care continuation law, or its mini-COBRA law, applies to all employers. The law generally requires that continuation coverage be extended to employees and their covered dependents whose coverage terminates. Unlike federal COBRA, the state's mini-COBRA law does not disqualify employees terminated for gross misconduct.

Pay Frequency

Manufacturing employers that have 50 or more employees, and public service corporations, regardless of size, must pay employees who are nonexempt under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) every two weeks or at least twice each calendar month on the second and fourth Saturday.

These provisions do not apply to FLSA-exempt employees.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on pay and benefit practices in Mississippi can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): Mississippi and Payment of Wages: Mississippi. Federal requirements can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): Federal and Payment of Wages: Federal.

Attendance and Leave

Mississippi has fewer laws relating to required leaves for employees than many other states, but does have mandated leave laws such as:

  • Military leave;
  • Jury duty leave; and
  • Crime victim leave.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on attendance and leave practices in Mississippi can be found in the Mississippi Employee Handbook Table of Contents, USERRA: Mississippi, Jury Duty: Mississippi and Other Leaves: Mississippi. Federal requirements can be found in USERRA: Federal, Jury Duty: Federal and Other Leaves: Federal.

Organizational Exit

If an employer's policy provides for paid vacations and contains no forfeiture provisions, the employer must pay a terminated employee all vested vacation time that was not taken prior to the termination. The vacation time must be paid at the final rate of pay, regardless of whether the termination is voluntary or involuntary or the result of the employer's closing.

Be aware that where there is overlap between federal, state and/or local law, complying with the law that offers the greatest rights or benefits to the employee will generally apply.

Additional information on organizational exit practices in Mississippi can be found in Payment of Wages: Mississippi. Federal requirements can be found in Payment of Wages: Federal.