Note: Most Massachusetts employers are subject to both the federal and state minimum wage and overtime laws. For information about federal minimum wage and overtime laws, click here: www.dol.gov/esa/whd.
Wages, Hours and Benefits
1. What is the minimum wage in Massachusetts?
The Massachusetts minimum wage for most employees is $8.00 per hour.
2. Can tipped employees be paid a different minimum wage?
Yes, the minimum wage for tipped employees (employees who receive more than $20 a month in tips) is $2.63 per hour. However, for tipped employees to be paid this rate, they must be informed of the law, must receive at least minimum wage when tips and wages are combined, and all tips must be retained by the employee or distributed through a valid tip-pooling arrangement. Tip-pooling arrangements must conform with the requirements of M.G.L. c. 149, §152A
3. Are employees entitled to extra pay for weekend, holiday, or night work?
The Minimum Fair Wage Law does not require extra pay for weekend, holiday, or night work; however, the Massachusetts Blue Laws, M.G.L. c. 136, §§6, 13, & 16, require some retailers to pay premium pay for Sundays and certain holidays. For more information about these laws, go to Massachusetts' Blue Laws.
4. Are employees entitled to sick pay, vacation pay, or severance pay?
The Minimum Fair Wage Law does not require employers to compensate for sick or vacation time when an employee is not at work, or offer severance pay upon termination. However, if an employer offers a vacation plan, vacation pay may be considered wages due an employee. For the Office of the Attorney General go to www.mass.gov/ago.
5. If an employee is on-call with a pager, must the employee be paid for this time?
An on-call employee who is not required to be at the work site, and who is effectively free to use his or her time for his or her own purposes, is not working while on call and need not be paid. Of course, if the employee is paged and must perform work, the employee must be paid for all hours worked.
6. How many hours constitutes full-time employment?
The Massachusetts Minimum Fair Wage Law does not distinguish between full-time or part-time employment, and both types of employees are covered by the law. As a general matter, work schedules are a matter of agreement between an employer and employee (or the employee's representative), with the exception of certain child labor provisions. For information regarding Massachusetts child labor laws, go to www.mass.gov/ago.
7. When is overtime compensation due?
Most employees must be paid one and one-half times their regular hourly rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a given work week. State law does not require overtime after eight hours in a day.
Some employees are exempt from overtime, such as executives, professionals, and some seasonal workers. For a list of those employees exempt from overtime, click here: M.G.L. c. 151, §1A . Even if an employee is exempt from overtime under state law, it is important to check if federal law would still require overtime compensation.
8. Can employees receive compensatory time instead of receiving overtime payments?
If an employee is a non-exempt employee, meaning an employee who is due overtime, the employer may not award compensatory time in place of paying overtime compensation.
9. Are salaried employees always exempt from overtime?
Just because an employee is paid on a salaried basis does not mean that the employee is not entitled to overtime compensation. The nature of the job and/or the type of employer dictates whether or not an employee is eligible for overtime. For a list of employees exempt from overtime, click here: M.G.L. c. 151, §1A
10. Can an employee agree to waive his or her right to overtime compensation and receive straight time pay for hours worked over 40 in a work week?
No, an employer and employee cannot make any agreement to violate the overtime law.
11. If an employee works 40 hours, and then gets an additional 8 hours of holiday pay, for a total of 48 hours of pay due for the work week, does the employer have to pay overtime compensation?
No, overtime is based on hours actually worked during a given work week. Holiday pay for a day when an employee does not work is not included in the 40 hours for purposes of overtime calculation.
12. Where can an employee file a wage complaint if the employee believes they have not been paid properly?
Complaints may be filed with the Office of the Attorney General's Fair Labor and Business Practices Division. For addresses and phone numbers for all offices, go to www.mass.gov/ago.
13. Where can I find a copy of the Minimum Wage Regulations that went into effect on April 25, 2003?
An unofficial downloadable copy of the Regulations that went into effect is available by clicking HERE. If you want an official copy of the regulations, you would have to contact the State House Bookstore at 617-727-2834
14. Where can I obtain the Minimum Fair Wage poster that must be posted by employers?
The Minimum Fair Wage Workplace Notice is available by mail from the Fair Labor & Business Practices Division of the Office of the Attorney General. For addresses and phone numbers for all offices, go to www.mass.gov/ago.