Massachusetts law about minimum wage

A compilation of laws, regulations, and web sources on minimum wage law by the Trial Court Law Libraries.

For more specific topics, see Overtime,  Prevailing wage, and Wages (in general).

If you are unable to find the information you are looking for, or if you have a specific question, please contact our law librarians for assistance.

Table of Contents

Best bet

Massachusetts wage & hour laws poster, Mass. Attorney General.

  • Effective January 1, 2023, the minimum wage is $15.00 per hour and the service rate (applied to workers who provide services to customers and who make more than $20 a month in tips) is $6.75.
  • The minimum wage applies to all employees except agricultural workers ($8.00 per hour is the minimum wage for most agricultural workers), members of a religious order, workers being trained in certain educational, nonprofit, or religious organizations, and outside sales people.

Massachusetts laws

MGL c. 41, § 108A Classification of positions; compensation plans; rules and regulations
In a 2002 Minimum Wage Opinion Letter MW-02-13-02, counsel for the Dept. of Labor Standards stated that municipal employees are excluded from the state minimum wage law (MGL c. 151), but are subject to the federal minimum wage law, referencing MGL c. 41, § 108A.

MGL c.149, § 152A Service charges and tips; tips pools; penalties

MGL c.151 Minimum fair wages
Section 1 sets the minimum wage at $15.00 in 2023. Section 2A sets the minimum wage for most agricultural workers at $8.00. Section 7 sets the minimum service rate for tipped employees at $6.75 in 2023.

Massachusetts regulations

454 CMR 27 Minimum wage
The purpose of the regulation is to clarify practices and policies in the administration and enforcement of the Minimum Fair Wages Act.

Federal laws

29 U.S. Code § 206 Minimum wage in the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, effective July 24, 2009. While the minimum wage according to Massachusetts law is significantly higher than the federal minimum wage, Mass. General Laws c. 151, § 1 states "in no case shall the minimum wage rate be less than $.50 higher than the effective federal minimum rate."

Selected case law

Capron v. Mass. Attorney General, 944 F.3d 9, (2019)
When a placement agency and host families challenged federal preemption of state minimum wage law, a federal appellate court ruled that domestic workers participating in an “Au Pair Program” administered by the U. S. Department of State in Massachusetts must be paid according to Massachusetts minimum wage and overtime laws, not the low Federal minimum wage.

Complaints and enforcement

File a wage complaint, Mass. Attorney General. 
If you think an employer did not follow the law about minimum wage, you can file a complaint online.

Workers right to sue, Mass. Attorney General.
You have the right to file a lawsuit in a Massachusetts Court, as an alternative to filing a complaint with the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division.

Forms

Minimum wage and overtime applications, Exec. Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Forms you will need to waive minimum wage or overtime.

Web sources

Federal minimum wage information, US Dept. of Labor.
Includes links to federal laws and regulations, and web pages on a variety of minimum wage topics.

Frequently asked questions related to the $15 minimum wage, Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, 2018 with 2022 data.
A 2017 analysis of the effects of increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Pages 6 - 8 discuss how an increase in minimum wage has/will affect tipped workers.

Minimum wage and commission only employees, SLN Law.
A plan for calculating the minimum wage rate for employees who are paid by commission only, written by an employment lawyer.

Minimum wage and overtime information, Exec. Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
Includes basic, clearly-written, information about minimum wage and overtime in Massachusetts. 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.

Minimum wage opinion letters, Mass. Dept. of Labor Standards. 
Fact specific interpretations of minimum fair wage law.

Minimum Wage Program, Exec. Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
Includes links to laws and regulations, forms, complaint information and more. Minimum Wage hotline: (617) 626-6952.

Wage and hour laws, The Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division.
Links to learning about your rights on the job, including information about attending a free wage theft clinic to meet with lawyers and other advocates to learn about your rights, draft a demand letter, or prepare a small claims court complaint.

Print sources

Employment law, 3rd ed. (Mass Practice v.45), Thomson Reuters, 2016 with supplement. Chapter 16:1 Minimum Wage.

Labor and employment in Massachusetts: a guide to employment laws, regulations, and practices, 2nd edition, Hirsch, Jeffrey L., Lexis Law Publishing, loose-leaf, updated with supplements. Chapter 2: Hours of work and wages.

Massachusetts wage and hours handbook, MCLE, 2022.

Wages and hours: law and practice, Matthew Bender, loose-leaf, updated with supplements.

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Last updated: January 1, 2023

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