Massachusetts law about overtime

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on overtime pay law by the Trial Court Law Libraries.

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

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.136, § 6 Business, trade, labor or work on Sunday
Eliminates "premium pay" for Sundays and holidays on January 1, 2023. From January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022, the pay rate for Sundays and holidays is 1.1 times regular pay.

MGL c.136, § 13 Legal holidays; application; exceptions
Retail establishments that operate on January 1, Veterans Day, or on Columbus Day/Indigenous People's Day must pay employees time and one-half (or more, if part of the contractual agreement) for their work on that day. The provision for holiday pay for workers in retail establishments will end on January 1, 2023. See: St.2020, c.358, §§ 74, 75 and 111.

MGL c.149, § 30B Overtime of state employees; regulations

MGL c.149, § 30C Work week of uniformed members of state police; overtime service; compensation; rules and regulation

MGL c.149, § 33A Five day and forty hour week for [some] cities and towns; emergencies; overtime; reduction of compensation

MGL c.149, § 33B Five day and forty hour week for [other] cities and towns; overtime; reduction of compensation

MGL c.149, § 33C Five day and forty hour week for [other] cities and towns; overtime; effective date

MGL c.151, § 1A Overtime pay; [20] excluded employments

MGL c.151, § 1B Overtime compensation; failure to pay; penalties; collection proceedings; unclaimed awards; deposit of funds

Massachusetts regulations

1-1/2 x over 40 hrs

454 CMR 27.03 Minimum wage and overtime rates
"One and one half times an employee's regular hourly rate, such regular hourly rate not to be less than the basic minimum wage, for work in excess of 40 hours in a work week, except as set forth in M.G.L. c. 151, § 1A." Also explains how to calculate overtime for piece work and tipped employees.

Federal law

29 USC Chapter 8, Fair labor standards, Section 207 “Maximum hours”
Overtime must be paid at a rate of at least one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for each hour worked in a workweek in excess of the maximum allowable in a given type of employment. 

Federal regulations

29 CFR Part 778 Overtime compensation

Selected case law

Arias-Villano v. Change & Sons, Inc., 481 Mass. 625 (2019)
The overtime exemption for "agriculture and farming" in Massachusetts includes "only the work of planting, raising, and harvesting crops," and so employees who "cleaned, inspected, sorted, weighed, and packaged... bean sprouts" should have been paid overtime for work in excess of 40 hours per week. 

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 lower Federal minimum wage and overtime provisions.

Mullally v. Waste Management of Massachusetts, 452 Mass. 526 (2008)
Discusses the interplay between overtime and prevailing wage laws. 

Sullivan v. Sleepy's LLC, 482 Mass. 227 (2019)
Overtime pay for commission employees. Employees paid by commissions and draws are entitled to "separate and additional payments of one and one-half times the minimum wage for every hour the employees worked over forty hours or on Sunday."

Complaints and enforcement

File a wage complaint, Mass. Attorney General. 
If you think an employer did not follow the law about overtime pay or Sunday/holiday pay, 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

“How many hours can I legally work in a day?” Shouse Labor Law Group.
“No federal or state law caps the number of hours in a workday for most workers.”

Minimum wage and overtime information, Exec. Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
Provides brief descriptions of overtime laws and exceptions. 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.

Overtime, MassLegalHelp. 
Comprehensive information about the law about overtime in an easy to read question and answer format.

Overtime pay, US Dept. of Labor.
Site includes information on federally mandated overtime pay as well as links to Fact Sheets on various types of employees, including (but not limited to): professional employees, outside sales staff, highly-compensated workers, blue-collar workers, nurses, technologists, and journalists.

Examples of the Fact Sheets include:

Overtime pay, Wage and Hour Division, US Dept. of Labor.
Similar to the above webpage. Links to information about the federal overtime provisions in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Questions and answers about the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Wage and Hour Division, US Dept. of Labor.
“Where an employee is subject to both the state and Federal overtime laws, the employee is entitled to overtime according to the higher standard (i.e. the standard that will provide the higher rate of pay.” “The FLSA does not limit the number of hours per day or per week that employees aged 16 years and older can be required to work.”

Print sources

Employment law, 3rd ed. (Mass Practice v.45) Thomson Reuters, 2016 with supplement. Section 16:1 Minimum wage/overtime regulation.

Labor and employment in Massachusetts, 2nd ed., Jeffrey L. Hirsch, LEXIS, 1998, with supplements, loose-leaf. A comprehensive overview of Massachusetts employment law. Section 2-5 Overtime.

Massachusetts employment law, 5th ed., MCLE, loose-leaf, Chapter 15 Federal and State Overtime Laws.

Wages and hours: law and practice, Matthew Bender, 2015 (with updates), Chapter 5, Overtime Requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

"Your rights on the job," Robert M. Schwartz, 5th ed., The Labor Guild of Boston, 2008. “Overtime Pay” pp. 19-28. A bit dated, but full of helpful information in an easy to understand format.

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Last updated: November 8, 2022
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