Montana Labor Laws

Montana Labor Law Breaks

Regarding rest periods for all workers, Montana abides by federal law by default. Only if it lasts less than 20 minutes must a meal break be paid if an employer wishes to offer one. As long as the employee is entirely relieved of all obligations, breaks longer than 30 minutes are considered meal intervals and do not require payment.

Montana Minimum Wage

In 2009 the United States raised its federal minimum wage to seven dollars and twenty-five cents. This change required each state to raise its minimum wage to meet this minimum or to be higher. The Montana minimum wage mirrors that of the federal requirement. Some states raise their minimum wages each year to compensate for higher food prices and higher energy prices. However, not all states raise their wages, as it is not a requirement. Under federal law, employers are not allowed to pay employees less than the minimum requirement.

In some states employees who are tipped on a regular basis may be paid less than the minimum wage. Supplying a different minimum wage for tipped employees is legal because acquired tips make up for the lowering of wages. In Montana tipped employees are not given a different wage. At times companies that make less than one hundred ten thousand dollars in annual sales are allowed to pay employees as little as four dollars per hour.

Sick Leave Payment

There is currently no federal law or Montana state law that requires employees to be paid for sick leave. However, an employer may choose to provide paid sick leave for employees, at his or her own discretion. When an employer states in a written policy that paid sick leave is available, he or she is required by law to provide this benefit.

Certain unions may also mandate that sick leave be provided, despite company policy. Employers have the right under federal law to change sick leave or terminate sick leave whenever they desire. They are under no obligation to inform employees of this change, however many employees are notified prior to policy termination.

Often times employees do not use their provided sick leave for illness but rather for mental health days or vacation. Because of this many companies and businesses have chosen to provide paid time off instead of sick leave. Underpaid time off employees are allotted a certain number of days each year they may take for whatever reason they desire, including mental health days or vacation. Sick leave is included in paid time off. And once paid time off has been used for the year, an employee cannot take any more time. This paid time off policy allows for honesty in the workplace.

Family and Medical Leave

Instead of creating its own state law for medical and family leave, Montana uses the federal law that was established in 1993 as the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to take necessary time off for family or medical purposes while their jobs will not be placed in jeopardy. Each employee is allowed twelve weeks each year to be used consecutively.

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act an employee cannot be terminated due to leave necessity or due to pregnancy. Upon return, an employee is entitled to his or her former occupation or occupation of the same salary and benefit. Maternity leave falls under the Family and Medical Leave Act as well as hospitalization, child illness, and other psychological or medical purposes.

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