In Missouri, employers are not required to provide employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. MO Dept. of Labor and Industrial Relations FAQ. If an employer chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. See City of Webster Groves v. Institutional and Public Employees Union, 524 S.W.2d 162 (Mo. App. 1975).
An employer may lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract denying employees payment for accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment. See Brackett v. Easton Boot and Shoe Co., 388 S.W.2d 842 (Mo. Sup. Ct. 1965).
An employer may also lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract disqualifying employees from payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment if they fail to comply with specific requirements, such as giving two weeks notice or being employed as of a specific date of the year. See Williams v. Jones, 562 S.W.2d 391 (Mo. App. 1978); City of Webster Groves v. Institutional and Public Employees Union, 524 S.W.2d 162 (Mo. App. 1975).
An employer is required to pay accrued vacation to an employee upon separation from employment if its policy or contract requires it. See Brackett v. Easton Boot and Shoe Co., 388 S.W.2d 842 (Mo. Sup. Ct. 1965).
An employer is not required to pay accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment if the employer’s established policy or employment contract is silent on the matter. See Brackett v. Easton Boot and Shoe Co., 388 S.W.2d 842 (Mo. Sup. Ct. 1965).
An employer may cap the amount of vacation leave an employee may accrue over time. See Brackett v. Easton Boot and Shoe Co., 388 S.W.2d 842 (Mo. Sup. Ct. 1965).
An employer may implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy requiring employees to use their leave by a set date or lose it. See City of Webster Groves v. Institutional and Public Employees Union, 524 S.W.2d 162 (Mo. App. 1975).
Missouri law does not require employers to provide employees with sick leave benefits, either paid or unpaid. MO Dept. of Labor and Industrial Relations FAQ. If an employer chooses to provide sick leave benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.
An employer in Missouri may be required to provide an employee unpaid sick leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws.
Missouri law does not require private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. In Missouri, a private employer can require an employee to work holidays. A private employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as 1½ times the regular rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws. If an employer chooses to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.
Visit our Missouri State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of Missouri as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.
Jury Duty Leave
An employer is not required to pay an employee any wages for time spent complying with a jury summons or serving on a jury.
An employer may not terminate, discipline, threaten or take any adverse action against an employee on account of that employee’s receipt of and/or response to a jury summons or for serving on a jury.
An employer may not require or request an employee to use annual, vacation, or sick leave for time spent responding to a summons for jury duty, time spent participating in the jury selection process, or time spent actually serving on a jury.
Missouri law allows an employee to, with prior notice to their employer, take three (3) hours off work to vote if there are not three (3) consecutive hours when the polls are open during which the employee is not required to be at work.
An employer who violates this law is guilty of a class four election offense – 365 days jail or $2,500 fine or both.
Missouri law does not require employers to provide employees bereavement leave or leave to attend funerals. Bereavement leave is a leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employers may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice they maintain.
Family and Medical Leave Act
Employers must comply with the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The state itself doesn’t have specific laws about family medical leave but instead relies on federal standards. Eligible employees can take this unpaid time off for certain reasons.
Most often, employees will consider family medical leave for the following situations:
- To bond with a new child
- Recuperating from a severe ailment
- Caring for an ill or seriously injured family member
- Caring for a family member in the military
- Handing qualifying family emergencies
Employees are entitled to benefits if they meet the following criteria:
- Have worked a minimum of 1250 hours the year prior
- Work for an employer with at least 50 employees
- Have worked for the same company for a minimum of 12 months
In total, employees are eligible to receive 12 weeks of leave per 12 months. The leave will renew every 12 months if employees continue to meet their eligibility criteria. Additionally, you can take up to 26 weeks of leave per 12 months to care for an active military family member.
At this time, Missouri does not require employers to provide time off for employees dealing with pregnancy or childbirth. As such, employers will often develop their own list of agreements about leave for the birth or adoption of a new child. Any terms laid out in employment contracts must be followed by employers upon hiring an employee.
Military members in Missouri are entitled to the same benefits that the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) offers, including:
- Employees have the right to continue group healthcare benefits for 24 months of their leave
- Upon return, employees must be reinstated to the same (or equivalent) previously held position
- Employees must receive up to five years of unpaid leave for military service (with exceptions)
Additionally, the laws for this state specify employers cannot discharge employees when enlisting in the state’s militia. Employers may not also use threats to deter employees from enlisting in the armed forces or the state-organized militia. It’s important to note that these benefits apply to active military members and any individual of the U.S. armed forces.
Private employers can create private regulations on military leave in the state. Employees may need to meet certain criteria to be able to benefit from military leave, such as:
- Notifying their employer of the leave within a specific period
- Providing proof their service has been completed
- Employers might not reinstate employees if workforce changes have made reinstatement impossible