The Mississippi Employment Law Guide

The state laws every business owner should know

Businesses must post all applicable state and federal labor law posters in the workplace.

Mississippi labor law posters to download

Federal labor law posters to download

Wages and Breaks

Minimum wage
$7.25

Mississippi does not have a state minimum wage, so most employers and employees are subject to the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

Tipped min wage
$2.13

Mississippi does not have a state minimum wage for tipped employees either, but federal law allows employers to pay tipped employees a minimum wage of $2.13

Overtime
1.5X

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.

The federal overtime rule stipulates that the minimum salary requirement for administrative, professional, and executive exemptions is $684 per week, or $35,568 per year.

Meal breaks
None

Mississippi does not require employers to provide meal breaks.

If an employer chooses to give a break according to federal law, breaks lasting 20 minutes or less must be paid.

Meal periods of 30 minutes or longer do not need to be paid as long as employees can do as they wish.

Rest breaks
None

Mississippi does not require employers to provide rest breaks.

If an employer chooses to give a break according to federal law, breaks lasting 20 minutes or less must be paid.

Final Paycheck

There are no laws regarding when an employer must pay final wages to employees who separate from employment for any reason.

Child Labor

Minors under the age of 16 may not work more than 18 hours per week when school is in session, more than 3 hours per day when school is in session, or before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m.

Minors may not work in any vocation that has been declared to be dangerous or threatening to their life, health, morals, or welfare.

Leave Requirements

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 and family leave

Employers may be required to provide employees unpaid leave in accordance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

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.

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 or require them to use any available leave time.

holiday leave

Private employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid time off for holidays.

voting leave

Mississippi does not have a law which requires an employer to grant its employees leave, either paid or unpaid, to vote.

bereavement leave

Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave.

crime victim leave

Employers in Mississippi must provide leave to an employee who is the victim of a crime to respond to a subpoena and to prepare for a criminal proceeding. Employers cannot take any adverse action against an employee for taking crime victim leave.

Military Leave

The federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is applicable to all employers in the United States.

Hiring, firing, and more

Discrimination

Federal law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of: Race, Color, Age, Sex, Sexual orientation, Gender, Gender identity, Religion, National origin, Pregnancy, Genetic information, including family medical history, Physical or mental disability, Child or spousal support withholding, Military or veteran status, Citizenship and/or immigration status.

Additionally, the state of Mississippi prohibits discrimination based on smoking or the use of tobacco during non-working hours.

Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.

Termination

Mississippi 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 employer is not retaliating against the employee for a rightful action.

Record Keeping

Regarding employment and payroll data, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and others, you must:

For at least 3 years: keep payroll records, certificates, agreements, notices, collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts, and sales and purchase records. Also keep completed copies of each employee’s I-9 for three years after they are hired. If the employee works longer than three years, hold on to the form for at least one year after the employee leaves. 

For at least 2 years: Keep basic employment and earning records like timecards, wage-rate tables, shipping and billing records, and records of additions to or deductions from wages. Also keep the records that show why you may pay different wages to employees of different sexes, such as wage rates, job evaluations, seniority and merit systems, and collective bargaining agreements.

For at least 1 year: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says employers should keep all employment records for at least one year from the employee’s date of termination. 

Other record-keeping laws that may apply to you: 

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, you need to keep records of job-related injuries and illnesses for five years. But some records, like those covering toxic substance exposure, have to be kept for 30 years.

You must keep files of benefit plans and seniority and merit systems while they are in effect and for at least a year after they end. You must also retain summary descriptions and annual reports of benefits plans for six years.

If your company is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, you must also retain relevant records of leaves, notices, policies, and more for three years.

Additional laws that may apply to you

COBRA

COBRA is a federal law that allows many employees to continue their health insurance benefits after their employment ends. Because federal COBRA only applies to employers that have 20 or more employees, many states have adopted their own versions of the law, which are known as “mini-COBRAs.” Mississippi’s mini-COBRA allows employees to continue their coverage for up to 12 months. Each individual certification of coverage must contain a notice of the right to continue coverage. We recommend that employers inform an employee as soon as a triggering event occurs.

Background checks

Employers who run background checks should ensure they’re following the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which are available here.

Mississippi requires that employers conduct background checks on the following types of employees: School employees, those who work with children in any capacity, those who carry a weapon as part of their duties, key employees of liquor retailers, those working in gaming establishments, and those who provide direct patient care or services.

Compliance Calendar

Get our Compliance Calendar to stay on top of deadlines throughout the year: View it on your computer. Click + Google Calendar in the lower right to add it to your Google Calendar and subscribe to all updates. You can also download a calendar (.ics) file that you can import into iCal or Outlook, or download a PDF to your computer.  

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 Remember

This 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. If you need more compliance help, we recommend consulting with a qualified lawyer, checking with your local government agencies, or signing up for Homebase to get help from our certified HR Pros. 

Additional Resources