Workers in Missouri should expect that they will be paid appropriately by their employers. Laws are in place to help protect their ability to do this. As of 2020, the federal minimum wage is set at $7.25 per hour for employees who aren’t exempt. Individuals employed in this state have a slightly different minimum wage.

Labor laws note that state minimum wage requirements are the ones that must be followed if they are greater than the federal minimum wage. At no time can any employer pay an employee less than the federal minimum wage. Understanding a few points about Missouri wage laws can help employees to ensure they’re getting what they’re due.

What is the minimum wage in Missouri?

Missouri is in the process of increasing the hourly minimum wage by $0.85 per year through 2023 when the minimum wage will reach $12 per hour. As of 2020, the minimum wage in the state is $9.45 per hour. This rate only applies to all businesses except service and retail businesses that don’t gross at least $500,000 per year. Businesses that don’t have to pay the state minimum wage must still abide by the federal law.

Tipped employees have a special rate. They must be paid at least $4.75 per hour if at least half of their wage is earned through tips. The business must have the person report their tips. If the worker doesn’t earn at least the state minimum wage when the tips and the hourly rate are combined, the employer is responsible for making up the difference.

Missouri laws stipulate that hourly employees must be paid overtime wages if they work more than 40 hours per week. These hours require a payment of 1.5 times the normal hourly rate for the employee.

What other special provisions are there?

Missouri laws include a prevailing wage requirement. This covers specific industries and varies by county. Workers who build roads, buildings and bridges for government entities are covered under this wage.

Another caveat of the laws here is that there aren’t any required breaks or lunches for employees. The only exception to this is a worker who is under 16 who is employed in the entertainment industry.

Any employee who wasn’t paid an appropriate wage can take legal action against their employer. Understanding these laws and working with someone who does can help you to learn your options and do what you feel is in your best interests.