Labor and Employment Law Overview: South Dakota

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

  • South Dakota law prohibits an employer from discriminating and retaliating against employees in a variety of protected classes. Employers must also provide equal pay. See EEO, Diversity and Employee Relations.
  • In South Dakota, there are requirements relating to the minimum wage and child labor. See Wage and Hour.
  • South Dakota has laws that relate to employee pay and benefits, including health care continuation, payment of wages and pay frequency requirements. See Pay and Benefits.
  • Under South Dakota law, employees are entitled to certain leaves or time off, including jury duty leave, military leave leave, voting leave and legislative leave. See Time Off and Leaves of Absence.
  • South Dakota prohibits smoking in the workplace and texting with a handheld device while driving. See Health and Safety.
  • When employment ends, South Dakota employers must comply with applicable final pay and job reference requirements. See Organizational Exit.

Introduction to Employment Law in South Dakota

South Dakota has laws that provide greater protections to employees than federal law, including a higher minimum wage and health care continuation coverage obligations for smaller employers, but generally follows federal law with respect to topics such as overtime, leaves of absence and occupational safety and health.

Select South Dakota 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 South Dakota requirements impacting EEO, diversity and employee relations are:

Fair Employment Practices

The South Dakota Human Relations Act (SDHRA) applies to all employers and prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of protected characteristics, including:

  • Race;
  • Color;
  • Creed;
  • Religion;
  • Sex (including pregnancy);
  • Ancestry;
  • National origin; and
  • Disability.

The law also prohibits an employer from retaliating against individuals who:

  • File a charge under the SDHRA; or
  • Testify, assist or participate in any way in an SDHRA investigation, hearing or other proceeding.

Equal Pay

An employer may not pay wages to any employee in any occupation in the state at a rate less than the rate at which the employer pays any employee of the opposite sex for comparable work on jobs that have comparable requirements relating to skill, effort and responsibility, but not to physical strength. The law does permit pay differentials between male and female employees based on legitimate, nondiscriminatory factors (e.g., seniority system, job descriptive system, merit increase system, executive training program).

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

Wage and Hour

Key South Dakota requirements impacting wages and hours are:

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage in South Dakota is $8.85 per hour. It is adjusted annually for inflation. A lower minimum wage rate may be paid to tipped employees.

Child Labor

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

Minors under 16 generally may not be employed at any time in any occupation dangerous to life, health or morals, nor may any child be in any manner exploited by any employer.

Minors ages 15 and younger generally may not work:

  • More than four hours in any school day;
  • More than eight hours in any nonschool day;
  • More than 20 hours in any school week;
  • More than 40 hours in any nonschool week; or
  • After 10:00 p.m. on any day that precedes a school 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 South Dakota can be found in Minimum Wage: South Dakota, Child Labor: South Dakota and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in South Dakota? Federal requirements can be found in Minimum Wage: Federal and Child Labor: Federal.

Pay and Benefits

Key South Dakota requirements impacting pay and benefits are:

Health Care Continuation

Under South Dakota'shealth care continuation coverage law, employers with fewer than 20 employees must permit eligible employees and their covered dependents to elect continued health care coverage if coverage is lost due to:

  • Termination of employment;
  • Termination of coverage by the insurer;
  • Employee's death, divorce, legal separation or eligibility for Medicare; or
  • Loss of dependent status.

Payment of Wages

South Dakota employers must pay all wages due in cash or by check. An employer may pay wages by direct deposit under certain circumstances.

Pay Frequency

A South Dakota employer must pay all wages due to employees as follows:

  • At least once each calendar month; or
  • On regular, agreed-upon paydays designated in advance by the employer.

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

Time Off and Leaves of Absence

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

  • Jury duty leave;
  • Military leave;
  • Voting leave; and
  • Legislative 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 South Dakota can be found in the South Dakota Employee Handbook Table of Contents, Jury Duty: South Dakota, USERRA: South Dakota, Other Leaves: South Dakota and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in South Dakota? Federal requirements can be found in Jury Duty: Federal, USERRA: Federal and Other Leaves: Federal.

Health and Safety

Key South Dakota requirements impacting health and safety are:

Smoke-Free Workplace

Smoking is banned in all enclosed workplaces in South Dakota, including bars and restaurants.

Safe Driving Practices

South Dakota prohibits drivers from using a handheld electronic wireless communication device to write, send or read a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle on a highway.

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

Organizational Exit

Key South Dakota requirements impacting organizational exit are:

Final Pay

Terminated employees must be paid by the next regular payday, or soon after the employee returns all employer property in his or her possession, if any.

References

An employer that provides job-related references to a current or former employees' prospective employer is presumed to have done so in good faith. The presumption of good faith does not apply if the employer:

  • Recklessly, knowingly or with a malicious purpose disclosed false or deliberately misleading information; or
  • Disclosed information subject to a nondisclosure agreement or information that is confidential under any federal or state law.

Any written response to a reference request must be made available to the employee if he or she asks for it.

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 South Dakota can be found in Payment of Wages: South Dakota, Employee Communications: South Dakota and Does This Law Apply to My Organization in South Dakota? Federal requirements can be found in Payment of Wages: Federal and Employee Communications: Federal.