Missouri’s labor laws play a crucial role in shaping the employment landscape for both employers and workers. Navigating these regulations is essential to ensure a fair and compliant work environment. In this comprehensive guide to Missouri labor laws in 2024, we will delve into key aspects, including minimum wage, overtime, breaks, termination procedures, and various other employment laws.

Minimum Wage Regulations in Missouri

Missouri sets its minimum wage at $12.30 per hour, significantly higher than the federal rate of $7.25. This rate applies to regular employees, but those in the retail or service industry with an annual gross income below $500,000 may be paid differently. Tipped employees, who receive tips, are entitled to a minimum of $6.15 per hour. If their combined earnings fall below the regular minimum wage, employers must compensate the difference.

Overtime Rules and Regulations

Missouri adheres to federal regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regarding overtime. Nonexempt employees are entitled to 1.5 times their regular pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek, with a minimum rate of $18.45 per hour. Nonexempt employees, often involved in technical, clerical, skilled crafts, or service work, should be aware of these regulations. In contrast, exempt employees, typically in executive, managerial, administrative, or professional roles, are not entitled to overtime pay.

At-Will Employment in Missouri

Missouri operates under at-will employment, allowing both employers and employees to terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause, except where prohibited by law. This flexibility defines the working relationship, emphasizing the importance of clear employment contracts when specific terms are desired.

Right-To-Work Status

Missouri is not a right-to-work state, meaning employers cannot compel employees to join or leave a labor union or pay union charges as a condition of employment. This status affords employees the freedom to decide whether or not to participate in union activities.

Rest and Meal Breaks in Missouri

Rest and meal breaks in Missouri are at the discretion of employers, as there are no state laws mandating breaks of any kind. Federal law stipulates that breaks lasting between 5 and 20 minutes are considered part of the employee’s workday, requiring compensation for this time.

Family and Medical Leave Laws

Missouri employees are protected under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). To be eligible for FMLA leave, employees must meet specific conditions, including having worked for the company for at least 12 months, accrued at least 1,250 hours in the previous year, and working at a site with a minimum of 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.

Other Leave Laws

Apart from FMLA, Missouri labor laws cover various types of leaves:

  • Jury Duty: Employers are prohibited from penalizing employees for jury duty, and discharged employees can seek compensation and reinstatement.
  • Voting: Employees have a three-hour window to vote, provided they give prior notice.
  • Donor Leave: State employees are entitled to paid leave for bone marrow and organ donation.
  • Bereavement: Missouri laws do not mandate employers to grant time off for bereavement.

Workplace Safety and Health Regulations

Missouri aligns with federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations to ensure employee and workplace safety. The state also has the Construction Safety Training Act, requiring training for on-site construction workers.

Child Labor Laws in Missouri

Minor employees in Missouri must be paid the state minimum wage and are subject to strict regulations:

  • Work permits are required for employees under 16.
  • Minors cannot work for more than three hours per day on a school day and eight hours on a non-school day.
  • They cannot work for more than six days or 40 hours in any week.
  • Certain occupations are off-limits for minor employees.

Antidiscrimination Laws in Missouri

The Missouri Human Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating based on age, ancestry, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, and sex. Any discrimination-related complaints must be filed with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights within 180 days.

Independent Contractor Classification in Missouri

Properly classifying workers as employees or independent contractors is crucial for compliance with local tax and wage laws. Employees work under the direction and control of an employer and receive benefits, while independent contractors operate their own businesses.

Official Holidays in Missouri

Missouri employers are not required to provide holiday pay to employees working on holidays, and any premium wages are at the employer’s discretion.

Termination and Final Paychecks in Missouri

The Missouri termination pay laws state that employers must pay all final wages promptly. If wages are not paid at the time of dismissal, the employee can request payment in writing, and employers have seven days to respond. Final wages accrue if not paid within 60 days.

Miscellaneous Missouri Labor Laws

Wage Payment

Employers must pay wages at least semi-monthly within 16 days of each regular payday. Pay statements or pay stubs should be provided monthly.

Unemployment Insurance

Missouri has a state unemployment insurance system, requiring most employers to contribute to provide benefits for those who lost their job through no fault of their own.

Immigration Verification

Employers must ensure no unauthorized aliens are employed in Missouri, and public employers or businesses with contracts or grants over $5,000 with the state must use E-Verify.

Drug Testing

Missouri lacks specific regulations on drug and alcohol testing, but contractors and subcontractors working with schools must undergo random testing.

Smoking Laws

Employers cannot discriminate against employees for legal off-premises use of tobacco or alcohol products. Reduced health insurance premiums may be offered to non-tobacco users.

Gun Laws

Missouri allows employers to set policies regarding guns in the workplace.


This comprehensive guide provides an in-depth understanding of Missouri labor laws in 2024. Employers and employees alike can use this information to navigate the complexities of the state’s employment regulations, fostering fair and compliant workplaces. For personalized legal advice, consulting with an attorney is recommended.