Laws for Employment in Montana are very liberal, leaving it up to employers to decide their employee's hours, wages, and intervals and amounts of raises. When searching for employment in Montana, job seekers should learn about the company’s policies prior to applying.
The minimum wage rate for employment in Montana is variable, depending on gross annual sales. Most companies are required to pay at least $6.55 per hour. However, if a company has gross annual sales of less than $110,000 and is not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, that employer can pay just $4.00 per hour. If the job description of an employee of this sort of business involves carrying goods into other states, the employee is entitled to the federal minimum wage, $5.85.
Montana is unique among the United States as it is not an “at-will” state. The term “at-will” means an employer can terminate an employee without proper reason, such as the employee violating company policies. However, Montana employers have the right to decide and change work factors such as hours required to work. Employers also do not have to provide raises, vacation pay, sick leave, or even breaks throughout the workday.
When seeking employment in Montana, it is very important to discover a company's policies on these matters and be sure that if a company commits to providing them that it is in their contract. While employers are not required to provide these benefits, however if an employer agrees to provide them, then they cannot renege on that promise. Also, while an employer may change the hours an employee required to work, they may not alter the hours on the time card. In other words, an employer is not allowed to modify the hours already worked. If an employee suspects their employer is tampering with their timecard, they should keep a personal record of as evidence if they need to contact a labor authority.
It is within an employer’s rights to cut the pay rate of an employee at any time. This pay cut cannot result in a salary that is less than the minimum wage, and cannot retroactively affect hours already worked. The employer must give notice to the employee and inform them of what their new pay rate will be from the time of notice or chosen date after notification. Because of the unique labor situation present for employment in Montana, it’s important to understand your personal rights as well as though of potential employers.