M.G.L. c. 149, § 148; 454 CMR 27.00 et seq. pdf format of 454 CMR 27

A worker’s pay (or wages) must include payment for all hours worked, including tips, earned vacation pay, promised holiday pay, and earned commissions that are definitely determined, due and payable.

Hourly workers must be paid every week or every other week (bi-weekly). The deadline to pay depends on how many days an employee worked during one calendar week.

No. Days Worked                           Deadline to Pay

5-6 days............................................6 days after pay period ends

1-4 days OR 7 days...........................7 days after pay period ends

Workers who quit must be paid in full on the next regular payday or by the first Saturday after they quit (if there is no regular payday). Workers who are fired or laid off must be paid in full on their last day of work.

Employers may require workers to be paid their wages through direct deposit, however, employers cannot choose the financial institution where workers will receive the funds.   

Workers cannot be charged a fee to have access to their pay.

Hours Worked

Hours worked or “working time” includes:

  • all time that a worker must be on duty at the employer’s worksite or other location,
  • any time worked before or after the normal shift to complete the work, and
  • travel time during the work day (but not ordinary commuting time between home and work).

Pay Deductions

An employer cannot deduct money from a worker’s pay unless the law allows it (such as wage withholding taxes), or the worker asked for a deduction to be made for his or her own benefit (such as to put money aside in the worker's savings account). 

An employer cannot take money from a worker's pay for the employer’s ordinary business costs (for example: supplies, materials or tools needed for the worker's job).  

The law also puts limits on when and how much money an employer can take from a worker's pay for housing and meals the employer gives to the worker.  And, an employer who requires a worker to buy or rent a uniform must pay for the uniform, or promptly refund the actual costs to the worker.

Reporting Pay

An employee of a for-profit employer must be paid for 3 hours at no less than minimum wage if she or he:

  • is scheduled to work 3 or more hours,
  • reports to work on time, and
  • is not given the expected hours of work.