Labor and Employment Law Overview: Missouri

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

  • Missouri law prohibits an employer from discriminating and retaliating against employees in a variety of protected classes. See EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations.
  • Missouri generally permits drug and alcohol testing and employment testing, but strictly limits genetic testing. See Recruiting and Hiring.
  • In Missouri, there are several requirements relating to the minimum wage, overtime and child labor. See Wage and Hour.
  • Missouri has a number of laws that relate to employee pay and benefits, including health care continuation, pay frequency, pay statements and permitted and prohibited wage deductions. See Pay and Benefits.
  • Under Missouri law, employees are entitled to certain unpaid leaves, including crime victim leave, military service leave, and time off for jury duty and volunteer emergency responder service. See Attendance and Leave.
  • Missouri law prohibits smoking in the workplace. See Health and Safety.
  • Final wages must be paid on the date of termination. See Organizational Exit.

Introduction to Employment Law in Missouri

Missouri is a middle-of-the-road state, meaning it generally does not lean toward being either employee- or employer-friendly.

Select Missouri 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 Missouri requirements impacting EEO, diversity and employee relations are:

Missouri Human Rights Act

The Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) applies to private employers with six or more employees and prohibits discrimination based on:

  • Race;
  • Color;
  • Ancestry;
  • National origin;
  • Religion;
  • Disability (physical or mental);
  • Age (40-69 years of age); and
  • Sex (including pregnancy).

Harassment on the basis of these factors is also a form of discrimination prohibited under the MHRA.

It is also unlawful for a Missouri employer to aid or abet prohibited discrimination, or to retaliate against an employee who opposes unlawful discrimination, files a complaint or assists in an investigation or proceeding under the MHRA.

Under the MHRA, a Missouri employer has an affirmative duty make reasonable accommodations to the known limitations of an employee or applicant with a disability.

Equal Pay

Missouri law prohibits an employer from paying female employees less than male employees in the same establishment for the same quantity and quality of the same classification of work, unless the difference is based on seniority, length of service, ability, skill or other factors not based on sex.

HIV/AIDS

The provisions of the MHRA apply generally to individuals with HIV infection, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and AIDS-related complex. The protections do not apply, however, if the disease or infection would directly threaten the health or safety of others or cause the infected individual to be unable to perform his or her employment duties.

Other Laws Prohibiting Discrimination

A Missouri employer must comply with other laws that prohibit discrimination on a variety of bases, including:

  • Genetic information and testing;
  • Political activities and union membership;
  • Use of a service dog; and
  • Use of alcohol or tobacco products outside the workplace.

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 Missouri can be found in the Missouri Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Disabilities (ADA): Missouri, EEO - Discrimination: Missouri, EEO - Harassment: Missouri, EEO - Retaliation: Missouri, Employee Discipline: Missouri, Missouri Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Missouri? Federal requirements can be found in Disabilities (ADA): Federal, EEO - Discrimination: Federal, EEO - Harassment: Federal, EEO - Retaliation: Federal and Employee Discipline: Federal.

Recruiting and Hiring

Key Missouri requirements impacting recruiting and hiring are:

Drug and Alcohol Testing

Under Missouri law, preemployment drug and alcohol testing is generally permitted, but only if:

  • The employer performs the same testing on every applicant for that job; and
  • The testing is done after a conditional job offer is made.

Genetic Testing

Missouri law prohibits an employer from using genetic test results or information to discriminate against a job applicant, unless such information is directly related to the individual's ability to perform assigned job responsibilities.

Employment Testing

A Missouri employer is prohibited from administering any employment test that adversely affects the hiring, promotion, transfer or any other job opportunity of protected classes unless:

  • The test has been validated and evidences a high degree of utility as described; and
  • The employer can demonstrate that alternative suitable hiring, transfer or promotion procedures are unavailable for its use.

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 Missouri can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: Missouri and Terms of Employment: Missouri. Federal requirements can be found in Preemployment Screening and Testing: Federal and Terms of Employment: Federal.

Wage and Hour

Key Missouri requirements impacting wages and hours are:

Minimum Wage

Missouri's minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage. Currently, the state minimum wage is $7.65 per hour, with certain exceptions. On January 1 of each year, Missouri's minimum wage is adjusted for inflation by the percentage increase or decrease in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) during the 12 months preceding the previous July, rounded to the nearest five cents.

Overtime

Missouri law generally requires an employer to pay covered employees overtime at a rate of one and one-half times the regular rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. However, there are exceptions to the standard overtime formula, such as for employees of seasonal and recreational establishments who must be paid overtime at a rate of one and one-half times the regular rate for all hours worked in excess of 52 hours in a workweek.

Child Labor

Child labor laws in Missouri 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 16 are prohibited from working in any occupation or place of employment that is dangerous to life, limb, health or morals, as well as a variety of listed occupations, including:

  • Operation of any motor vehicle;
  • Occupations involving exposure to any toxic or hazardous chemicals;
  • Oiling, cleaning, maintaining or washing machinery;
  • Stone cutting or polishing, except in the jewelry business;
  • Work in or about a motel, resort, hotel or where sleeping accommodations are furnished except in offices or locations physically separated from the sleeping accommodations; and
  • Work in any establishment in which alcohol is manufactured, bottled, stored or sold for consumption, except in establishments where at least 50 percent of the gross sales consist of goods, merchandise or commodities other than alcoholic beverages.

Child labor laws also list occupations in which minors under age 16 are permitted to engage in, including:

  • Farming (with parental consent);
  • Office/clerical work;
  • Retail cashier, price marking, bagging, selling, packing and shelving;
  • Food service delivery, including preparing/serving food and beverages; and
  • Occupations in the entertainment industry.

Minors working in the entertainment industry must be provided:

  • A 15-minute rest break after every two hours of continuous work;
  • A 30- to 60-minute meal break if working longer than five and one-half hours; and
  • A full 12-hour rest break between the end of the workday and the start of the next workday.

Minors under 16 years of age may not work:

  • More than three hours a day on a school day;
  • More than eight hours a day on a nonschool day;
  • More than six days a week;
  • More than 40 hours a week;
  • Before 7:00 a.m.;
  • After 7:00 p.m. from Labor Day until June 1; and
  • After 9:00 p.m. from June 1 until Labor Day.

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 Missouri can be found in Minimum Wage: Missouri, Overtime: Missouri, Child Labor: Missouri, Missouri Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Missouri? Federal requirements can be found in Minimum Wage: Federal, Overtime: Federal, Hours Worked: Federal and Child Labor: Federal.

Pay and Benefits

Key Missouri requirements impacting pay and benefits are:

Health Care Continuation

Missouri's health care continuation coverage law requires group health policies issued to employers with two to 19 employees to include continuation coverage. Continuation coverage must be offered to employees and their covered dependents who lose coverage as a result of the same qualifying events as under the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). The length of coverage also follows federal COBRA.

Pay Frequency

Missouri law generally requires an employer to pay employee wages and salaries at least on a semimonthly basis and no later than 16 days after the close of each payroll period. A Missouri employer has the option of paying the following types of employees on a monthly basis:

  • Executive;
  • Administrative;
  • Professional;
  • Sales; and
  • Employees compensated at least partially on a commission basis.

In addition, a Missouri employer must pay employees on or before the 15th day of each month the full amount of all wages earned before the first day of that month. If wages are not paid on time, the employer must also pay interest of six percent on the wages due.

Pay Statements

At least once a month, a Missouri employer is required to provide employees with a written statement displaying the total amount of wage deductions for that period.

Permitted and Prohibited Wage Deductions

A Missouri employer may make deductions from employees' wages for the fair market value of meals, lodging and other goods and services as a credit toward the payment of the minimum wage provided that the employee voluntarily received them for his or her personal benefit.

Deductions for health insurance provided by a cafeteria plan under § 125 of the Internal Revenue Code are also permitted.

An employer is prohibited from deducting certain items from an employee's wages, including:

  • Tools and equipment;
  • Uniforms;
  • Maintenance of tools, equipment or uniforms;
  • Breakage or loss of tools, equipment or uniforms; and
  • Any items required by the employer to be worn or used by the employee as a condition of employment.

Wage Reduction Notices

A Missouri employer must give employees who will be affected by a wage reduction at least 30 days' advance notice. The employer may post the notice in a conspicuous place where the affected employees work or mail a copy of the notice to each affected employee.

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 benefits practices in Missouri can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): Missouri, Payment of Wages: Missouri, Missouri Workplace Labor and Employment Law Posters and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Missouri? Federal requirements can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): Federal and Payment of Wages: Federal.

Attendance and Leave

Missouri has several laws relating to required leaves for employees, including:

  • Voting leave;
  • Jury duty leave;
  • Crime victims leave;
  • Volunteer emergency responder leave;
  • Military leave; and
  • Civil air patrol leave (covering employers with 50 or more 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 attendance and leave practices in Missouri can be found in the Missouri Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Jury Duty: Missouri, Other Leaves: Missouri, USERRA: Missouri and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Missouri? Federal requirements can be found in Jury Duty: Federal, Other Leaves: Federal and USERRA: Federal.

Health and Safety

Missouri's Indoor Clean Air Act prohibits smoking in places of employment, but allows an employer to designate a smoking area as long as the area is no more than 30 percent of the entire workplace and there is proper separation of the smoking area through ventilation systems and physical barriers.

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 health and safety practices in Missouri can be found in the Missouri Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Employee Health: Missouri and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Missouri? Federal requirements can be found in Employee Health: Federal.

Organizational Exit

Missouri law provides that final wages are due and payable on the date of termination. An employer that fails to make payment within seven days of the due date may be required to pay an additional 60 days of the employee's wages.

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 Missouri can be found in Payment of Wages: Missouri. Federal requirements can be found in Payment of Wages: Federal.