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

  • Mississippi law prohibits an employer from discriminating against employees based on military service membership, expunged criminal records and off-duty smoking. See EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations.
  • Mississippi requires the use of E-Verify and permits preemployment criminal checks and drug and alcohol testing. See Recruiting and Hiring.
  • In Mississippi, there are requirements relating to breastfeeding breaks and child labor. See Wage and Hour.
  • Mississippi has laws that relate to employee pay and benefits, including health care continuation, payment of wages, pay statements, pay frequency and wage deductions. See Pay and Benefits.
  • Under Mississippi law, employees are entitled to certain leaves or time off, including military leave, jury duty leave and crime victim leave. See Time Off and Leaves of Absence.
  • Mississippi prohibits texting and social networking while driving, and allows guns in company parking lots. See Health and Safety.
  • When employment ends, Mississippi employers must comply with applicable final pay requirements. See Organizational Exit.

Introduction to Employment Law in Mississippi

Mississippi has laws that provide greater protections to employees than federal law, including health care continuation coverage obligations for smaller employers, but generally follows federal law with respect to topics such as occupational safety.

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

Mississippi law generally prohibits an employer from discriminating against individuals based on characteristics such as:

  • Membership or former membership in covered military service;
  • Expunged criminal records; and
  • Smoking or use of tobacco products during nonwork hours.

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, USERRA: Mississippi and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Mississippi?. Federal requirements can be found in EEO - Discrimination: Federal and USERRA: Federal.

Recruiting and Hiring

Key Mississippi requirements impacting recruiting and hiring are:

Criminal Checks

State conviction and arrest records are available to employers that have been authorized in writing by the subject of the record sought, or that are otherwise authorized by state or federal law. Upon request for such records, an employer must submit proper identification and written authorization from the prospective employee/subject of the record.

Drug Testing

A Mississippi employer may require job applicants to submit to neutral selection drug and alcohol testing as a condition of employment. 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 that they may be tested. The notice must be provided 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.

E-Verify

Mississippi's Employment Protection Act requires all employers to register with and use E-Verify to verify the employment authorization status of all newly hired employees. An employer may only hire employees who are legal US citizens 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, 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 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 period or other break period provided by the employer. Mississippi does not require employers to provide employees with meal or other break periods.

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 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.

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, Hours Worked: Mississippi, Child Labor: Mississippi and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Mississippi? Federal requirements can be found in Hours Worked: Federal and Child Labor: Federal.

Pay and Benefits

Key Mississippi requirements impacting pay and benefits are:

Health Care Continuation

Mississippi's health care continuation law applies to all employers. The law generally requires that continuation coverage be extended to employees and their covered dependents whose coverage terminates for any reason. Unlike federal COBRA, the state law does not disqualify employees terminated for gross misconduct and provides continuation coverage for up to 12 months.

Payment of Wages

An employer must pay the full amount of wages due to employees in cash, or with checks that can be cashed in full at banks where arrangements have been made for cashing without difficulty. An employer may pages by direct deposit or payroll debit cards if certain conditions are met.

Pay Statements

An employer must furnish each employee with a statement of deductions made from his or her wages for each pay period in which deductions are made.

Pay Frequency

Nonexempt employees must be at least semimonthly, on regular pay days designated in advance. An employer may establish regular paydays that occur less frequently than semimonthly for bona fide executive, supervisory and other special classifications of employees, provided that the employees are paid in full at least monthly.

Wage Deductions

An employer may make deductions from employees' wages that are required by federal or state law or that are authorized by the employee (e.g., contributions to benefit plans, payment into their personal savings account, charitable contributions).

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 Mississippi can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): Mississippi, Payment of Wages: Mississippi and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Mississippi? Federal requirements can be found in Health Care Continuation (COBRA): Federal and Payment of Wages: Federal.

Time Off and Leaves of Absence

Mississippi has few laws relating to required time off and leaves of absence for employees, which cover all employers. These laws include:

  • 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 time off and leave of absence practices in Mississippi can be found in the Mississippi Employee Handbook Table of Contents, USERRA: Mississippi, Jury Duty: Mississippi, Other Leaves: Mississippi and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Mississippi? Federal requirements can be found in USERRA: Federal, Jury Duty: Federal and Other Leaves: Federal.

Health and Safety

Key Mississippi requirements impacting health and safety are:

Weapons in the Workplace

An employer in Mississippi may not prohibit employees from transporting or storing a gun in a locked vehicle in a parking lot, parking garage or other designated parking area, unless the employer restricts public access to the parking area. An employer may prohibit employees from storing guns in a company vehicle.

Safe Driving Practices

Mississippi bans texting and social networking on a hand-held mobile telephone while driving.

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 Mississippi can be found in the Mississippi Employee Handbook Table of Contents, HR and Workplace Safety: Mississippi, Workplace Security: Mississippi and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Mississippi? Federal requirements can be found in HR and Workplace Safety (OSHA Compliance): Federal and Workplace Security: Federal.

Organizational Exit

If an employer's policy, employment contract or union contract 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, and regardless of whether the termination is voluntary or involuntary or the result of the employer's closing.

An employer may pay all wages due to a deceased employee to individuals in a certain order, beginning with the employee's spouse.

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 and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in Mississippi? Federal requirements can be found in Payment of Wages: Federal.