Regulations that cover the amount of time an employee spends working and what that employee is paid for that time are known as wage and hour laws. Standards for overtime pay, tipped earnings, employer obligations regarding what must be paid for, what counts as time worked, breaks for rest and meals, etc. are all determined by wage and hour laws. Knowledge of these laws is essential for employers to avoid lapses that may result in legal action.
Minimum Wage in Mississippi
Because Mississippi has no prevailing minimum wage laws, employers must follow federal regulations as stated by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This entails offering employees the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Employees are entitled to this federal minimum wage rate in absence of any local laws offering a higher rate.
Minimum Wage of Tipped Workers: Tipped wage rates are determined by the FLSA due to Mississippi’s lack of minimum wage regulations. According to the FLSA, workers receiving tips may earn $2.13 per hour in direct wages provided their total earnings equal the federal minimum wage rate for every hour worked. If an employee’s combined wages do not equal this amount, an employer must make up the difference.
Does Minimum Wage Apply to Me: The FLSA states that minimum wage laws apply to all employers earning at least $500,000 in annual gross income. It also covers smaller employers involved in interstate commerce or the production of goods for that purpose. Exemptions can include workers earning a commission as well as other types of workers. The United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division provides a full listing of exemptions.
When Are Raises Required: Raises are not required under FLSA provisions. Employers can create contracts with employees that award raises based on agreed-upon criteria, such as an employee’s overall work performance, productivity, and other factors.
Work Hours in Mississippi
Mississippi and the FLSA are without laws limiting the amount of time an employee spends working in a day or week. As a result, all employees over the age of 16 may work as much or as little as they see fit in a given period of time.
Paying Overtime: Mississippi must adhere to federal laws establishing overtime pay rates. Employees exceeding 40 hours in a work week must be paid a rate one-and-one-half times greater than the standard wage rate. Some employees are exempt from earning overtime pay, including highly compensated workers (those earning more than $100,000 annually), those in computer-related occupations, administrative/executive professionals, etc.
Guaranteed Breaks and Meals: Laws pertaining to meal and rest breaks do not exist at the Mississippi state or federal level. The FLSA does however stipulate that nursing mothers must be allotted time to express milk for one year after giving birth and that employers must also provide a private area (other than a bathroom) to nursing mothers away from the public and other employees. Employers are free to create agreements with employees governing incremental breaks for meal or rest during a work day.
Paid Time Off and Sick Pay: Paid time off and sick pay are not covered under Mississippi law. The FLSA is also without regulations regarding these areas, which means employers must develop agreements with employees to this end.
Notice Period for Employee Termination: Mississippi is designated as an at-will employment state. This means employers are allowed to terminate the employment of a worker for any reason and at any time with no advance notice required. Additionally, there are no laws within the FLSA that require notice be given to terminated employees.
Plant Closings & Layoffs: In the absence of relevant Mississippi laws regarding plant closings and mass layoffs, the state must follow the standards set forth by the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. For employers with 100 or more full-time employees, 60 days’ advance written notice must be afforded for any closing or layoff affecting 50 or more employees at a single worksite.
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