Minimum wage and overtime information

Massachusetts fair wage law and regulations

Most Massachusetts employers are subject to both the federal and state minimum wage and overtime laws.

Massachusetts minimum wage

The Massachusetts minimum wage is $11 per hour. As of 1/1/17 there have been changes to the minimum wage.

Minimum wage for tipped employees

The minimum wage for tipped employees who make more than $20 dollars a month in $3.75 per hour. To pay tipped employees this rate, they must know about the law. They must also make at least minimum wage when they combine tips and wages. Employees have to keep all their tips or must use a pooling arrangement that distribute tips to all workers equally. Tip-pooling arrangements must follow the requirements of Massachusetts tip-pooling laws. Also, tipped employees are exempt from overtime under the state law, but not under federal law.

The U.S. Department of Labor has information on the federal overtime requirements for tipped employees, or call the Massachusetts Wage and Hour Division at (617) 624-6700.

 

Agricultural or farm workers minimum wage

  • Working on a farm or growing flowers and plants requires a wage of no less than $8 an hour.
  • The only exception to this rule is the payment of children 17 years of age or under or to a parent, spouse, child, or other member of the employer's immediate family.

Extra pay for weekend, holiday, or night work

Under the minimum fair wage law, an employer does not have to pay extra for weekend, holiday, or night work. In some case, the Massachusetts blue laws chapter 136, require some retailers to pay premium pay for Sundays and certain holidays. For more information, refer to the Massachusetts blue laws.

Vacation and severance pay

The minimum fair wage law does not require employers to compensation for vacation time when an employee is not at work, or offer severance pay upon termination. But, if an employer offers a vacation plan, vacation pay may be considered wages due an employee.

Sick pay

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 earned sick time law can be found in this notice.

On-call employees

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.

Full-time employment

  • The Massachusetts minimum fair wage law does not differentiate between full-time or part-time. The law covers both types of workers.
  • Work schedules are between an employer and worker, except for the cases of child labor.
  • The Massachusetts minimum fair wage law does not distinguish between full-time or part-time employment, and both kinds of employees are covered by the law. Generally, 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.

Filing a wage complaint

Minimum wage complaints may be filed with the Office of the Attorney General's Fair Labor Division.

Minimum wage regulations

Full text of minimum wage law.

Additional Resources

Download wage and hour posters for workplaces

Overtime compensation

  • 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 call for overtime after 8 hours in a day.
  • Some employees are exempt from overtime, such as executives, professionals, and some seasonal workers.
  • Even if an employee is exempt from overtime under state law, it is important to check if federal law would still require overtime compensation.
  • An employer and employee cannot make any agreement to violate the overtime law.
  • Most Massachusetts employers are subject to both the federal and state overtime laws. For information about federal overtime laws, visit dol.gov/whd/.

Compensatory time

If an employee is a non-exempt worker, meaning an employee who is due overtime, the employer may not award compensatory time in place of paying overtime compensation.

Exemptions for salaried employees

  • Just because an employee is paid on a salaried basis does not mean that the worker is not entitled to overtime compensation.
  • The nature of the job and/or the type of employer dictates whether or not an worker is eligible for overtime.
  • For a list of workers exempt from overtime, visit M.G.L. c. 151, §1A

Holiday hours and overtime pay

  • Overtime is based on hours actually worked during a given work week.
  • Holiday pay for a day when a worker does not work is not included in the 40 hours for purposes of overtime calculation.
    • If a worker 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, the employer does not have to pay overtime compensation.

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