Massachusetts Minimum Wage
What is the minimum wage in Massachusetts?
The minimum wage in Massachusetts is $12 per hour. The minimum wage in Massachusetts is higher than the federal minimum wage.
Salaried v. Hourly
How do I tell whether I should be paid a salary or by the hour?
Many employers pay their employees a “salary” – the same amount of money every week regardless of how many hours the employee works. Many employees, however, are not allowed to be paid a salary, and instead should be paid for all the hours they work.
When does my employer have to pay me overtime?
What rate do employers need to pay for overtime?
Generally, employers need to pay one and one half your regular rate of pay. However, your “regular rate of pay” may be higher than you think.
How should my overtime rate be calculated if I earn an hourly wage and earn commissions?
Generally, commissions need to be included in calculating your overtime rate. If you earn an hourly wage and also earn commissions or non-discretionary bonuses, your overtime rate should be more than one and a half times your hourly rate. For example, if in one week you work 40 hours, and also earn a commission, your “regular rate of pay” for calculating your overtime rate for the next week needs to include both the money you earned from working those 40 hours as well as your commissions, divided by 40 hours you worked. Many employers do not pay their employees who earn commission the proper overtime rate. Violations are common for salespeople. If you receive commissions and worked overtime, but your employer only paid you time and one half your normal hourly wage, please contact us for a free consultation.
How should my overtime rate be calculated if I am paid on a commission only basis?
If you are paid only commissions, your employer needs to pay you at least what you would earn if made minimum wage. You are entitled to at least the number of hours you worked multiplied by the minimum wage, and multiplied by one and a half times the minimum wage for any time worked after 40 hours.
How should my overtime be calculated if I am paid “piecemeal?”
Employees who are paid by the piece produced – or piecemeal – are still entitled to overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. There are two different methods for calculating the “regular rate of pay” that is then multiplied by 1.5 for each hour the employee works over 40 hours.
Am I entitled to a meal break?
Generally, your employer must provide you a 30 minute meal break after 6 hours of work. The break does not need to be paid.
Can my employer require me to work during my meal break?
Your employer cannot require you to work during your meal breaks. Employees must also be allowed to leave the worksite during meal breaks.
Meal break violations are common among nurses and other hospital staff, cleaners, janitors, chefs, wait staff, security guards, social workers, retail and drug store workers, grocery store employees, and construction workers.
If you believe your employer may have violated the meal break laws, please contact us for a free consultation.
On Call and Sleep Time
Does my employer have to pay me when I am on call?
Whether your employer has to pay you when you are on call depends on several factors. If you are required to remain at your jobsite while you are on call, then your employer has to pay you for your on call time. Generally, if you are required to be at work, you must be paid. Additionally, if you do not have to be physically at your job site, but you still must stay nearby, or your movements are restricted during your on call time, your employer may have to compensate you for the time.
Does my employer need to pay me for sleep time?
Whether your employer needs to pay you for sleep time depends. If you are required to be on duty at the jobsite for less than 24 hours, you must be paid for the entire time you are at the job site, even if you are allowed to sleep or do other activities while at work. If your shift is longer than 24 hours you may not be entitled to pay for all the time you are at the job. Whether your employer has to pay you depends on the specific facts surrounding your sleeping arrangement.
On call and sleep time violations are common among nurses and other hospital staff and emergency services such as plumbers and electricians. If you believe your employer may have violated the on call laws, please contact us for a free consultation.
Does my employer have to pay me for travel time?
Employers sometimes need to pay for travel time. Your commute to and from work is generally unpaid. However, most travel time that is not your normal commute must be paid. For example, if your employer requires you to travel to a site that is not your normal jobsite, your employer may have to pay you for that travel time. If you must report to a fixed location each day before then going to different sites, you must be paid from when you arrive at the fixed location. If part of your job is traveling from one site to another during the course of the day, you are entitled to be paid for all the travel time done between sites during the day.
Whether you should be paid for long-distance or overnight travel depends on many factors. You must be paid if you are travelling during what would otherwise be your normal workday.
Travel time violations are common in the home health care, janitorial, and construction industries. If you believe your employer may have violated the travel time laws, please contact us for a free consultation.
Showing Up to Work, But Being Sent Home
Do I need to be paid if I come to work, but my employer does not have work for me to do?
If you are scheduled to work a shift of 3 or more hours and you report to work, you are entitled to 3 hours of pay. If you do not actually work during that 3 hours, your employer may be able to pay you less than your normal hourly rate, but your employer must pay you at least minimum wage for that portion of the 3 hours you did not work.
Sunday and Holiday Work
Does my employer need to pay me overtime for work on Sunday?
Employees who work on Sunday in retail stores needed to be paid an hourly wage above their normal wage. Historically, employees were entitled to one and a half times their normal hourly rate. A new law calls for the gradual elimination of the extra pay, with its complete elimination in 2023. If you have worked at a retail store that did not pay its employees extra pay for work on Sundays, please contact us for a free consultation.
Can my employer make me work on holidays, and does my employer have to pay me extra for working on holidays?
Retail employers may not require employees to work on the following days. If you chose to work on any of these days, your employer must pay premium pay: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Columbus Day (after 12 p.m.), Veterans Day (after 1 p.m.), Thanksgiving, and Christmas. If you have worked at a retail store on any of these days and were not provided premium pay, please contact us for a free consultation.
Lodging and Meal Deductions
Can my employer deduct money from my paycheck for lodging?
Employers can deduct money from your paycheck for lodging. In order for the employer to do so, however, the lodging must include heat, water and lighting. Further, you need to want the housing and actually use it. Finally, the employer cannot charge you more than $35 per week for a single room, $30 per week for a two person room, or $25 for a room with more than 2 people.
Can my employer deduct money from my paycheck for meals?
Any employer can make deductions for meals, but they cannot be more than $1.50 for breakfast, $2.25 for lunch, and $2.25 for dinner. The deductions cannot be more than it costs the employer for the meal and you must provide written consent to the charge.
If your employer is making deductions from your paycheck for lodging or meals, please contact us for a free consultation.
Can my employer make me pay to buy or dry-clean my uniform?
If you are required to wear any special type of clothing, it may be considered a uniform. Your employer cannot require you to pay for your uniform. Also, if the uniform has to be dry-cleaned or commercially laundered, your employer needs to reimburse you for that expense. Your employer is also not allowed to charge you a deposit for a uniform.
Employers often violate these rules for security guards, paramedics, ambulance workers, limo drivers, nurses, dental hygienists, and waitresses. If your employer makes you pay to purchase or dry clean your uniform, please contact us for a free consultation.
Docking Your Pay
What can my employer deduct, or dock, from my pay?
The law is not cut and dry on what types of things employers can deduct from your pay. Issues may arise where your employer makes deductions for things such as: damage to a company vehicle; damage to company or customer property; cash shortages; business expenses like tools and equipment; and uniforms. Additionally, chargebacks are not allowed; your employer cannot withhold your wages until a customer makes payment. If your employer is docks you pay for anything like these types of expenses, please contact us for a free consultation.
Can an internship be unpaid?
Nearly all internships must be paid. An employer cannot get around paying its workers minimum wage by calling the job and “internship.” Employers cannot label a job an “internship” to get free labor. In Massachusetts, only charitable, educational, and religious institutions can use unpaid interns. Next, the program needs to be designed to train the intern. In determining if an internship should be paid, courts look at whether the training is similar to that which would be done in school; whether the internship is designed for the benefit of the intern, not the employer; whether the intern is doing work that would otherwise be done by a regular employee; and whether the employer is getting a benefit from the intern. Some internships done as part of a school co-op may be unpaid if the school requires internships. But simply because you may get school credit for an internship does not mean that the internship can be unpaid. If you worked as an unpaid intern, please contact us for a free consultation.