Most Massachusetts employers are subject to minimum wage and overtime laws.
Massachusetts minimum wage
As of 1/1/19, the Massachusetts minimum wage is $12 per hour.
A 2018 law made changes to the minimum wage, and Sunday and holiday premium pay. Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, the minimum wage will increase to $12.75 per hour.
Minimum wage for tipped employees
The service rate for tipped employees who make more than $20 a month is $4.35 per hour. To pay tipped employees this rate, the employer must notify the employee in writing of MGL c151 §7(3). Employers must pay service employees all their tips, or they may use a tip-pooling arrangement that distributes tips in equal proportions to their time pursuant to MGL c149 s 152A. They must also make at least minimum wage when they combine tips and wages. Restaurant 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 restaurant workers.
Agricultural or farm workers minimum wage
- The agricultural wage is $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, children, 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 compensate for vacation time when an employee is not at work, or offer severance pay upon termination. However, if an employer offers a vacation plan, vacation pay may be considered wages due an employee. For the Office of the Attorney General go to www.mass.gov/ago.
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.
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.
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. As a general matter, 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. For information regarding Massachusetts child labor laws, go to www.mass.gov/ago.
Filing a wage complaint
Complaints must be filed with the Office of the Attorney General's Fair Labor Division. For a wage complaint form, addresses and phone numbers, please visit the Attorney General's web page.
Minimum wage regulations
Additional Resources for Minimum wage regulations
Download wage and hour posters for workplaces
- Minimum fair wage posters can be downloaded at any time and are available in English and 13 additional languages, visit AGO workplace publications.
- Posters are available in multiple languages.
- To request copies of the 2019 required minimum wage and hour laws poster, complete the wage and hour posters request form.
- 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.
- For a list of those employees exempt from overtime, visit M.G.L. c. 151, §1A.
- 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.
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.