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Massachusetts law about minimum wage

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

Table of Contents

Massachusetts minimum wage

$13.50 State minimum wage

Massachusetts minimum wage is $13.50/hour as of January 1, 2021.

Note: There are many circumstances in which different wages may be paid. See links below for more information. Minimum wage will go up in steps to reach $15 per hour in January 2023.

Tipped employees

$5.55 Service employees minimum wage

Tipped employees minimum wage is $5.55 as of January 1, 2021. This rate will go up in steps to reach $6.75 per hour in January 2023.

The minimum wage for tipped employees who make more than $20 a month in tips is $5.55 an hour. However, for employers to pay these employees this different minimum wage they must inform the employee of this law and the employee must receive at least the $13.50 minimum wage when actual tips and wages are combined. In addition, all tips must be retained by the employee or distributed through a valid tip-pool as defined by MGL c.149 § 152A. If the combined wages and actual tips do not at least equal the regular minimum wage, the employer must pay the employee the difference. 

Pay and recordkeeping: tips, Mass. Attorney General.
The law requires employers to calculate the difference between the service rate and earned tips at the end of every shift worked by the employee. Here, you can find examples of how that should be done.

Best bet

Minimum wage program, Dept. of Labor Standards
Everything you need to know about Mass. minimum wage. Includes links to laws and regulations, forms, complaint information and more. Minimum wage hotline: (617) 626-6952

Massachusetts laws

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

MGL c.151 Minimum Fair Wages. Sections 1 and 7 increase minimum wage over the next several years.

Minimum wage
Date Standard Minimum Wage Tipped Minimum Wage
January 1, 2021 $13.50 $5.55
January 1, 2022 $14.25 $6.15
January 1, 2023 $15.00 $6.75

Massachusetts regulations

454 CMR 27 Minimum wage

Federal laws

$7.25 Federal minimum wage

29 U.S. Code § 206 Minimum Wage
Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, effective July 24, 2009

Federal regulations

29 CFR Part 541 Defining and delimiting the exemptions for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and computer employees. "White collar'' exemptions from minimum wage laws.

Selected case law

Capron v. Mass. Attorney General, 944 F.3d 9, (2019), cert. denied, June 22, 2020.
Au pairs in Massachusetts must be paid according to Massachusetts minimum wage and overtime laws, not the lower Federal minimum wage. 

Meshna v. Scrivanos, 471 Mass. 169, (2015)
“If an employer failed to communicate a no-tip policy clearly to customers, who then left tips retained by the employer, the employer was liable under the Tips Act because the money remained a “tip” that was reasonably expected to be given to the employee.”

Web sources

Attorney General Opinion Letter MW-02-13-02: Applicability of M.G.L. c. 151 to Town Employees, Mass. Attorney General.
Municipal employees are excluded from the state minimum wage law, but are subject to the federal minimum wage. 

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.

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

Print sources

Employment law: (Mass. Practice, v. 45), chapter 16:1, Minimum wage, West Group, with supplements.

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.

Massachusetts wage and hours handbook, MCLE, 2020

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

Wage and hour primer and update 2017, MCLE

Contact

Phone

Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only

Online

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Last updated: April 20, 2021
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