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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

$12.75 State minimum wage

Massachusetts minimum wage is $12.75/hour as of January 1, 2020.

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

$4.95 Service employees minimum wage

Tipped employees minimum wage is $4.95 as of January 1, 2020. 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 $4.95 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 $12.75 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.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, 2020 $12.75 $4.95
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, US 1st Circuit, No. 17-2140, December 2, 2019
Au pairs in Massachusetts must be paid according to Massachusetts minimum wage and overtime laws, not the lower Federal minimum wage. Petition for certiorari filed (Feb. 14, 2020) (No.19-1031): The United States Supreme Court is presently deciding whether or not to review this case.

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.

Important changes to the Massachusetts minimum wage, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
Highlights the current minimum wage, as well as the service rate (for tipped employees) and the agricultural rate.

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

The minimum wage and job creation, Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, August, 2012.
This fact sheet is one in a series of Mass Budget reports addressing various aspects of the Massachusetts minimum wage.

Who is effected by the minimum wage?, Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, January 2013
Facts at a glance about minimum wage.

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Last updated: July 3, 2020