It’s important to stay up to date on all of the employment laws in your state so that you can maintain compliance in your business. We did some of the hard work for you and put some of the most important Montana statutes in one place so you can either learn them for the first time or give yourself a refresher. 

However, remember that our summary is not qualified legal advice, laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality. 

It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area. Consult with a qualified lawyer and/or your local government agencies if you have questions or concerns. 

Here are a few Montana labor laws every small business owner should know.

Resources

First, here are a few helpful links and resources for you to bookmark and refer back to:

Leave

  • Sick Days: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid sick leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one.
  • Medical Leave: Employers may be required to provide an employee unpaid leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.
  • Vacation Leave: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid vacation leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one.
    • If an employee accrues vacation leave, it cannot  be taken away for any reason and must be paid out for the leave upon separation from employment, regardless of the reason. 
    • The amount of vacation leave accrued over time may be reasonably capped in the policy.
  • Jury Duty: Employers are not required to pay an employee for time taken to respond to a jury summons, but they are not allowed to punish the employee in any way. 
  • Holiday Leave: Private employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid time off for holidays. 
  • Voting Leave: No statute.
  • Bereavement Leave: Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave.

Final Paycheck

  • If an employee is terminated or laid off, they must be paid all final wages immediately upon separation unless there is a written policy that extends the payment to the next regular payday or within 15 days, whichever comes first. 
  • Employees who quit or resign due to a labor dispute must be paid all final wages by the next regular payday or within 15 days, whichever comes first. 

Minimum Wage

  • The current minimum wage in Montana is $8.50 for employers who have more than $110,000 in annual sales. 
  • The minimum wage for employers who have less than $110,000 in revenue is $4.00. 
  • The rate is reviewed annually and increased by the same percentage the cost of living has changed in the prior year. 

Tipped Wages

There is no separate minimum wage for tipped employees; they must be paid the standard rate. 

Child Labor

Minors 14 and 15 years of age may not work

  • During school hours, except as provided for in Work Experience and Career Exploration Programs approved by the department or the office of public instruction
  • Before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m., except that the minor may be employed until 9 p.m. during the periods outside the school year (June 1 through Labor Day, depending on local standards)
  • Employed more than 3 hours on a school day
  • 18 hours in a school week
  • 8 hours on a non-school day
  • 40 hours in a week in a non-school week

Meal and Rest Breaks, Overtime

  • Employers are required to pay employees an overtime rate of one and a half times their regular rate for all hours worked in a workweek in excess of 40, unless the employee is otherwise exempt.
  • There are no laws requiring employers to provide meal periods or breaks, so the federal rules apply. 
    • Federal law does not require employers to provide meal periods or breaks, but if they choose to do so, breaks lasting less than 20 minutes must be paid. 
    • Meal periods do not need to be paid if employees are free to do as they wish. 

Employment Discrimination

  • The Montana Human Rights Act makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, religion, marital status, color, sex, physical or mental handicap, age, political belief, retaliation or national origin.
  • Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.       

Termination

Montana is an employment-at-will state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory and that the employer is not retaliating against the employee for a rightful action. 

Shift Scheduling

There are currently no laws regarding shift scheduling in Montana.

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