The Missouri 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.

Missouri labor law posters to download

Federal labor law posters to download

Wages and Breaks

Minimum wage
$9.45

The current minimum wage in Missouri is $9.45.

The minimum wage is reviewed annually and increased by the percentage the cost of living has changed from the prior year.

Tipped min wage
$4.73

The minimum wage for tipped employees is $4.73.

Employers are allowed to require employees to participate in tip pooling or sharing arrangements.

Overtime
1.5X

Non-exempt employees must be paid an overtime rate of 1 ½ times the regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in one workweek.

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

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.

Rest breaks
None

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.

Final Paycheck

Employees who are terminated or laid off must be paid all final wages on the day of discharge. If the employee does not receive the wages on the discharge day, they should request in writing to be paid, and if they don’t receive their wages after 7 days of the request they can file suit against the employer.

There are no statutes regarding when an employee who quits or resigns due to a labor dispute should be paid their final wages.

Child Labor

Minors 14 and 15 years of age

When school is in session, 14- and 15-year-olds may work a maximum of 3 hours per day on school days, a maximum of 8 hours per day on non-school days, no more than 6 days a week, only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., and they may not work during school hours.

When school is not in session, they may work until 9 p.m., and a maximum of 40 hours and 6 days a week.

Minors 16 and 17 years of age do not have any restrictions.

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 time

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.

Employers can establish a policy denying a pay out of any accrued vacation time upon separation from employment.

Employers can cap the amount of vacation time that may be accrued, and can also implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy that requires employees to use their leave by a set date.

Jury Duty

Employers do not have to pay an employee for time spent responding to a jury summons, but they may not punish the employee in any way or require them to use any available leave.

Witness Leave

Upon written request, employers must provide leave for an employee to prepare for and attend a criminal proceeding.

Employers cannot take any adverse action against an employee for taking such leave, including requiring that they use vacation time, personal time, or sick leave.

Crime Victim Leave

Upon written request, employers must provide leave for an employee who is the victim of a crime (or their immediate family member) to prepare for and attend a criminal proceeding.

Employers cannot take any adverse action against an employee for taking such leave, including requiring that they use vacation time, personal time, or sick leave.

Holiday leave

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

Voting Leave

Employers must provide employees with 3 hours of time off to vote if they provide prior notice and if there is not enough time before or after their shift.

Bereavement leave

Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave.

Emergency Response Leave

Employees who are absent from or late to work in order to respond to an emergency as a volunteer firefighter, or a member of Missouri-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team, Missouri Task Force One, Urban Search and Rescue Team, or FEMA, must be granted an unpaid leave to carry out those duties.

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 Missouri prohibits discrimination based on the use of lawful alcohol or tobacco products off the premises and outside of work hours or AIDS/HIV.

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

Termination

Missouri 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.

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.

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.” Missouri’s mini-COBRA allows employees to continue their coverage for up to 18 months. Employers must provide an employee with a notice of their COBRA rights within 30 days of the triggering event.

Background checks

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

Missouri requires that employers conduct background checks on the following types of employees: Those working in nursing home facilities; adult day care providers; health care providers, those working in medical treatment facilities; and those working in a facility, day program, residential facility; or specialized service operated, funding, or licensed by the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

Kansas City ban-the-box ordinance

Kansas City has a ban-the-box ordinance that says employers may not inquire about an applicant’s criminal history until after it has been determined that the individual is otherwise qualified for the position and only after the applicant has been interviewed for the position.

The inquiry may then be made of all applicants who are “within the final selection pool of candidates.”

Pay Practices

Employers must pay most employees at least semimonthly. Manufacturers must pay wages at least every 15 days, and not more than five days after the end of payroll period. The following types of employees may be paid monthly: Executive; Administrative; Professional; Salespeople; Those who earn commissions.

Employers must inform an employee at least 30 days before decreasing their rate of pay. The notice may be posted in a prominent location (if all employees are subject to a structured pay cut) or mailed to employees individually.

At least once a month, employers must provide employees with a statement of deductions from their pay.

Employers may not use any portion of an employee’s Social Security Number as an employee identifier.

Service of Process on Employees

Missouri law makes it a crime for an employer to knowingly refuse, or assist an employee in refusing, service of process attempted by duly authorized process servers calling on the business establishment during the employee’s normal working hours

Employee Monitoring

Employers may not listen to or record their employees’ wire communications unless the communication is with the employer or at least one party to the conversation consents.

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