South Dakota Labor Laws

South Dakota Labor Laws (2024 Guide For Employers)

It’s essential for employers and employees working in the state of South Dakota to have a solid understanding of South Dakota labor laws.

  • Confused about wage rates and minimum wage laws in South Dakota?
  • Wondering about your eligibility for bereavement or holiday leave?
  • Concerned about layoffs and unemployment insurance in the state?

When it comes to understanding the codified labor laws in the state of South Dakota, clarity is key.

With our comprehensive guide, we will point you toward resources that break down the intricacies of employment regulations.

This article is for:

  • Private employers seeking clarity on their legal obligations.
  • Full-time workers curious about their rights regarding health insurance and family leave.
  • Individuals interested in knowing about misdemeanor implications in the workplace.

Employment laws are often difficult to comprehend and navigate in their entirety. If you are leading a South Dakota workforce, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the rules and regulations that you must follow.

With a good knowledge of wage and hour regulations, leave policies, and workplace safety standards, you can ensure fair practices, that protect both parties. Here’s a breakdown of the key aspects of labor law in the Mount Rushmore State.

Disclaimer: Despite our best efforts to provide you with accurate information on this topic at the time of writing, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the content at the time of reading. This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Consult an attorney for specific guidance on South Dakota labor laws.

South Dakota Wage Laws

Minimum Wage

The South Dakota minimum wage is currently $11.20 per hour, exceeding the federal minimum wage of $7.25. However, there are certain exemptions and special provisions to be aware of:

Employers can pay a lower minimum wage of $4.25 per hour to 18-year-olds and minors for their first 90 consecutive calendar days of employment.

The minimum wage for tipped employees in South Dakota is $5.60 per hour.

South Dakota allows certain subminimum wages for individuals with disabilities whose earning power is impaired. Employers seeking to utilize these must receive a special certificate from the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR).

South Dakota Payment Laws

Pay Frequency

South Dakota requires employers to pay employees at least once each calendar month on established paydays.

Final Payouts

When an employee is terminated, all wages earned are due on the next regular payday for their employment period. If an employee quits, earned wages are also due on the next regular established payday.


Employers can make deductions from wages for reasons like taxes and court-ordered garnishments. Any other deductions must be authorized in writing by the employee.

South Dakota Overtime Laws

Overtime Rate

South Dakota follows the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), requiring employers to pay non-exempt employees 1.5 times their regular rate for hours worked beyond 40 hours in a given workweek.


Certain occupations are exempt from overtime pay requirements, including executives, certain administrative and professional workers, and farmworkers. Refer to FLSA guidelines for detailed information on exemptions.

South Dakota Break Laws

South Dakota does not have state laws requiring employers to provide meal breaks or rest breaks.

However, federal law may still preempt, depending on the nature of an employer’s business.

For specifics regarding breaks and federal requirements, it’s advisable to consult the FLSA and the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation.

South Dakota Leave Requirements

Sick Leave

South Dakota has no state law mandating paid sick leave. Offering sick leave remains at the discretion of the employer.

Vacation Leave

Similar to sick leave, there’s no state requirement for paid vacation leave. These benefits are determined by the individual employer’s policies.

Family and Medical Leave

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies to eligible employees in South Dakota, allowing up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for serious health conditions, caring for a new child, or qualifying family or military circumstances. Employers with 50 or more employees must comply with FMLA.

Other Leave

South Dakota law mandates that employers allow employees time off for jury duty leave and military leave (under specific circumstances).

Child Labor Laws in South Dakota

South Dakota has strict regulations to protect the safety and well-being of minors in the workforce. Key restrictions include:

Minimum Working Age

Generally, minors must be at least 14 years old to work. Some exceptions are made for agricultural work and specific occupations.

Permitted Work Hours

Minors under 16 have limits on work hours during school weeks and school days. They cannot work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. (10 p.m. in the summer).

Hazardous Occupations

Certain occupations deemed too dangerous are prohibited for minors under 18.

South Dakota Hiring Laws


South Dakota and federal law prohibit discrimination in hiring based on protected characteristics like race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information.

At-Will Employment

South Dakota is an at-will employment state. Without an employment contract, employees can be hired or terminated for any reason (or no reason), as long as it’s not illegal.

Background Checks

Employers may conduct background checks, but must obtain the applicant’s written consent in advance and comply with relevant laws.

South Dakota Termination Laws

At-Will Employment

South Dakota’s at-will employment doctrine means employers can terminate employees without cause, and employees can quit without notice unless there’s a contract in place.

Wrongful Termination

Exceptions to at-will employment exist. Terminating someone due to discrimination, in retaliation for exercising rights (e.g., filing a workers’ compensation claim), or in breach of an employment contract could be considered wrongful termination.


South Dakota has no state law requiring employers to provide advance notice of termination.

Occupational Safety in South Dakota

OSHA Compliance

While South Dakota doesn’t have its own state-level Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) plan, the federal OSHA regulations apply to most workplaces. Employers are obligated to maintain safe and healthy working conditions.

Workers’ Compensation

South Dakota has a workers’ compensation system providing benefits to workers injured on the job. Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities

Knowledge of South Dakota labor laws is crucial for both business owners and employees. Here’s how to stay informed:

Employer Responsibility

Employers should ensure their policies and practices comply with state and federal labor laws. They should familiarize themselves with the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation’s resources.

Employee Rights

Employees should be aware of their rights regarding wages, overtime, safe working conditions, and freedom from discrimination. Reviewing federal and state resources helps employees protect themselves.

Staying Updated

Labor laws can change. Stay up-to-date by checking the South Dakota DLR website and federal resources like the Department of Labor website.

Additional Considerations

Some additional aspects of South Dakota labor laws not covered in detail earlier include:

Labor Unions

South Dakota doesn’t have ‘right-to-work’ laws, meaning workers can be required to join labor unions as a condition of employment. Collective bargaining agreements may dictate additional terms and conditions beyond state law.

Whistleblower Protection

South Dakota has laws protecting employees who report potential misconduct from retaliation.

Specific Industry Regulations

Certain industries, like healthcare and construction, may have additional state-specific regulations.

Disclaimer: Not Legal Advice

This blog post provides a general overview of South Dakota labor laws but does not constitute legal advice. Laws and regulations are subject to change, and there may be additional requirements or exemptions that apply to specific situations. Employers and employees should consult a qualified labor law attorney for advice on their specific circumstances.

If you have any questions about your rights or obligations as an employer or employee in South Dakota, it is essential to consult with a labor law attorney to receive accurate information and guidance tailored to your situation. By seeking professional legal advice, you can ensure that you are taking the appropriate steps to comply with labor laws and protect your rights.

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