Missouri labor laws exist to protect the rights of workers. If you are employed within Missouri, it is important that you read about these laws to find out what rights you have. These laws help protect you in your workforce and make sure your employer is providing you with all of your rights.
What is the Difference Between Part-Time vs. Full-Time in Missouri?
Missouri does not have any minimum or maximum amount of hours you have to work to be considered full-time or part-time. Instead, they leave that up to your employer to decide. To figure out if you are a part-time or full-time employee you should check with your HR department.
Part-time status employees may have different benefits and rights compared with full-time employees. For instance, they may have limited access to health and dental care, paid time-off, and other employee rights. These of course may depend on the employer’s preference as well as the individual employment contract between the worker and employee.
What is Missouri’s Stance on Minimum Wage and Overtime Rates?
The minimum wage in Missouri is $7.70 per hour. Retail and service companies that make less than $500,000 per year do not have to follow the state minimum wage. Instead, they can pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Missouri follows the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirement of paying 1 and ½ times the regular pay if you work over 40 hours per week. They also have their own law that if you work for an amusement or recreation business, overtime does not start until you have worked over 52 hours in one week. Missouri also does not limit mandatory overtime, so you can be asked to work as many hours as your employer wants.
Disputes over wage rates or overtime pay may lead to a wage and hour claim. This is where the court will examine the employee’s pay rates, and compare them with federal and state laws to determine if there has been a violation (such as withholding overtime pay from an employee who has clearly qualified for the rate).
Does Missouri Require Employee Health Benefits?
Missouri does not have state laws about health benefits. Instead, it follows the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which only applies to companies with 50 or more full-time employees. Under the ACA, these companies must offer health insurance to the majority of their full-time employees.
This plan must cover at least 60% of typical health costs. Companies with less than 50 employees are not required to provide health insurance. Instead, it is up to each small business to make that decision.
You should know that the laws for health insurance are probably changing soon, so you should speak with a local lawyer.
Does Missouri Provide Protection from Employment Discrimination?
In Missouri, employees cannot be discriminated against for their age, disability, gender, race, religion, ancestry, color, or national origin. Both various federal laws, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Missouri Human Rights Act prohibit such discrimination by employers.
An employee that has been discriminated against can choose to file a complaint with either the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Both agencies have their own time limits and so you should check with a lawyer to make sure you are following all the correct deadlines.
If your complaint is not resolved by an agency, then you have the right to sue your employee. Missouri laws also stop an employer from retaliating against an employee who files a complaint against them.
While Missouri does not place a limit on the amount of compensatory damages that an employee may receive, it does limit the amount of punitive damages you can get. Punitive damages punish your employer for their discrimination. You can either get five times the amount of the judgement (which is the amount you receive because of the damage that was done) or $500,000, depending on whichever is the larger amount.
Does Missouri Offer Paid Time-Off?
Missouri does not have state laws about taking time off of work for medical leave or pregnancy. Instead, it uses the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to set the guidelines for such leave. FMLA only covers employees working in a company that has 50 or more employees and conducts business in multiple states.
Employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for any medical reason or pregnancy and childbirth. During that time, they still have medical and health benefits and they have the right to go back to their job after their leave.
There is no law in Missouri requiring employers to provide time off for vacation or paid time off. Whether or not to offer such benefits is up to each company to decide.
Where Can I Find a Local Employment Lawyer to Help Me?
Enforcing your rights as an employee is important, as it can also benefit your co-workers who may have been suffering from the same violations by your employer. If you think your employer is denying you the basic rights and protections that are guaranteed by federal and Missouri state labor laws, then contact a Missouri employment lawyer today. Your attorney can provide guidance and assistance as your claim passes through the Missouri legal system.