Other Leaves: Missouri
Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.
Authors: Jason Janoski and Alan L. Rupe, Kutak Rock LLP
- There are several types of leave that may be available to an employee in Missouri. See Leaves of Absence.
- Missouri does not have a state family and medical leave law applicable to private employers.See Family and Medical Leave.
- An employee must be provided three consecutive hours to vote on the day of election. See Voting Leave.
- An employer must not terminate, discipline, threaten or take any adverse action against an employee because the employee receives or responds to a jury summons. See Jury Duty Leave.
- An employer should not terminate or discipline any witness, victim or a victim's immediate family member for honoring a subpoena to testify in a criminal proceeding. See Crime Victim Leave.
- An employer may not terminate or otherwise discriminate against members of the state-organized militia or the US armed forces. See Military Leave.
- An employer may not terminate an employee who is late to or absent from work in order to respond to an emergency. See Emergency Responder Leave.
Leaves of Absence
There are various types of leave that may be available to an employee in Missouri. To the extent that applicable federal, state or local laws conflict, an employer should apply the provisions that provide the greatest benefits and protections to the employee.
An employer should remain alert to the various types of leave available and take care to track employees' leaves of absence, including:
- The date the leave begins;
- The type of leave; and
- The expected return date.
An employee who exercises leave rights is not protected from discipline for legitimate reasons that are unrelated to the leave and that are not otherwise prohibited by law.
If an employer must discipline an employee who has exercised his or her leave rights, it should carefully document the reasons for the discipline, review past application of the rule (to ensure the policy is being enforced evenhandedly), and consider whether to seek the advice of counsel before imposing the discipline.
Family and Medical Leave
Missouri does not have a state family and medical leave law applicable to private employers. However, a Missouri employer with 50 or more employees is likely required to adhere to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Pregnancy Disability Leave
Disabilities caused or contributed to by pregnancy, miscarriage, legal abortion, childbirth and recovery are, for all job-related purposes, temporary disabilities and should be treated as such under any health or temporary disability insurance or sick leave plan available in connection with employment.
Written and unwritten employment policies regarding leave must apply the same standards to pregnancy leave as would be applied to any other temporary disability. For more information on pregnancy disability leave, please see FMLA: Missouri.
An employee must be provided with up to three consecutive hours to vote on the day of election, without loss of pay, unless the employee is not working for three consecutive hours when the polls open.
An employer may specify what time the employee can leave work. The employee may not be penalized, terminated or docked pay for leaving work to vote, so long as the employee requests time off prior to the day of election and the employee uses the time off to vote.
Any employer violating the voting leave law is guilty of a class four election offense. +Mo. Rev. Stat. 115.639.
An employer should consider including a voting leave policy in its handbook to educate employees, including supervisors, about the availability of voting leave and to show its compliance with Missouri law.
Jury Duty Leave
An employer must not terminate, discipline, threaten or take any adverse action against an employee because the employee receives or responds to a jury summons. For more information on jury duty leave, please see Jury Duty: Missouri.
Crime Victim Leave
An employer may not terminate or discipline a witness, victim or victim's immediate family member for:
- Honoring a subpoena to testify in a criminal proceeding;
- Attending a criminal proceeding; or
- Participating in the preparation of a criminal proceeding.
A family member includes a spouse, child, sibling, parent, grandparent or legal guardian of a victim.
A victim is defined as a natural person who suffers direct or threatened physical, emotional or financial harm as the result of the commission or attempted commission of a crime. The term victim also includes the family members of a minor, incompetent or a homicide victim.
A witness is defined as any person who has been or is expected to be summoned to testify for the prosecution whether or not any action or proceeding has yet begun. The term witness include persons employed in the administration of criminal justice who are testifying in the course of their employment, except that such persons shall not be entitled to any witness fees.
In addition, an employer may not require any witness, victim or member of a victim's immediate family to use vacation or personal time or sick leave for honoring a subpoena to testify in a criminal proceeding, attending a criminal proceeding or participating in the preparation of a criminal proceeding.
An employer should consider including a crime victim leave policy in its handbook to educate employees, including supervisors, about the availability of crime victim leave and to show its compliance with Missouri law.
An employer may not terminate or otherwise discriminate against members of the state-organized militia or the US armed forces.
The reemployment rights provided under federal law apply to:
- Members of Missouri's military forces who are ordered to active state duty by the governor;
- Any Missouri employee who is a member of the National Guard of another state and is called to active state duty by that state's governor; and
- Any member of any reserve component of the US Armed Forces who is called to active duty.
For more information on military leave, please see USERRA: Missouri.
Civil Air Patrol Leave
An employer with 50 or more employees may not discriminate against an employee who is or may become a member of the Civil Air Patrol and has qualified for a Civil Air Patrol emergency service specialty or who is certified to fly counter narcotics missions. Such employees must be granted a leave of absence without loss of time, regular leave or any other rights or benefits to which the employee would otherwise be entitled in order to serve in the Civil Air Patrol or counter narcotics missions.
For more information on civil air patrol leave, please see USERRA: Missouri.
Emergency Responder Leave
Under the Volunteer Firefighter Job Protection Act, an employer may not terminate an employee who is activated to a national disaster response by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or who joins any fire department or fire protection district, including but not limited to:
- Any municipal, volunteer, rural or subscription fire department or organization or any volunteer firefighter;
- The Missouri-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team, Missouri Task Force One or Urban Search and Rescue Team.
Such employees are also protected from termination for being late to or absent from work in order to respond to an emergency that occurs before the time the employee is to report to their place of employment.
A volunteer firefighter includes any firefighter in the service of any fire department or fire protection district, such as any municipal, volunteer, rural, or subscription fire department or organization, or volunteer fire protection association, who receives no monetary compensation for their services.
An employer may request a written statement from the supervisor or acting supervisor of the volunteer fire department or the commander of Missouri-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team or the FEMA supervisor stating that the employee responded to an emergency on a specific date and time. In addition, an employee must make a reasonable effort to notify their employer that they may be absent or late in order to respond to an emergency. +Mo. Rev. Stat. 320.336(4) and (5).
An employer may charge any time lost by an employee because of their emergency responder work against the employee's regular pay. +Mo. Rev. Stat. 320.336(3).
If an employee is wrongfully terminated in violation of this law, the employee may bring a lawsuit against their employer and seek reinstatement to their former position, payment of back wages, reinstatement of fringe benefits, and, where seniority rights are granted, reinstatement of seniority rights. If the employee prevails, the employee will also receive their reasonable attorney's fees and the costs of the action. +Mo. Rev. Stat. 320.339.
An employer should consider including an emergency responder leave policy in its handbook to educate employees, including supervisors, about the availability of emergency responder leave and to show its compliance with Missouri law.
Employers should be aware that certain leaves are protected by state law and therefore it should train its supervisory employees not to take action against an employee because he or she took leave or indicated that he or she may take the leave in the near future. See Training and Development: Federal.
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