The Massachusetts Minimum Fair Wage Law and Regulations
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/whd/
Wages, Hours and Benefits
1. What is the minimum wage in Massachusetts?
Effective January 1, 2015, the Massachusetts minimum wage is $9.00 per hour. Please click HERE for more information.
2. Can tipped employees be paid a different minimum wage?
Yes, effective January 1, 2015,the minimum wage for tipped employees (employees who receive more than $20 a month in tips) is $3.00 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. Also, tipped employees are exempt from overtime under state law, M.G.L c. 151 Sec. 1a, but they are not exempt under federal law. For more information on how to calculate or enforce the federal overtime requirements for tipped employees go to the U.S. Department of Labor’s website at www.dol.gov/whd/ or call the Wage and Hour Division at 617-565-9600.
3. Can agricultural workers be paid a different minimum wage?
Work on a farm and the growing and harvesting of agricultural, floricultural, and horticultural commodities requires payment of no less than $8.00 per hour (effective 01/01/15), except when such wage is paid to a child seventeen years of age or under, or to a parent, spouse, child, or other member of the employer's immediate family.
4. 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.
5. Are employees entitled to vacation pay or severance pay?
The Minimum Fair Wage Law does not require employers to compensate for 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.
6. Are employees entitled to sick pay?
Yes, effective July 1, 2015, the Attorney General’s Office will enforce an Earned Sick Time for Employees law requiring sick leave under certain conditions. Guidance regarding the requirements of this law will be forthcoming from the Office of the Attorney General.
7. If an employee is on-call, 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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 Division. For a wage complaint form, addresses and phone numbers, please go to: mass.gov/ago/bureaus/business-and-labor/the-fair-labor-division/
15. Where can I find a copy of the Minimum Wage Regulations?
A copy of the regulations is available at www.mass.gov/dols/mw.
.16. 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 Division of the Office of the Attorney General. For addresses and phone numbers for all offices, go to www.mass.gov/ago .