As of January 1, 2023, the Massachusetts Minimum Fair Wage Law provides for a minimum hourly rate of $15.00. (M.G.L.c. 151, s. 1)
As of January 1, 2023, the Massachusetts Minimum Fair Wage Law provides for a minimum hourly rate of $6.75 for tipped employees. (M.G.L.c. 151, s. 7)
When an employee is paid on a piece work basis, salary or any basis other than an hourly rate, the regular hourly rate is determined by dividing the employee's total weekly earnings by the total hours worked during the week. (454 CMR 27.02)
Working time does not include meal times during which an employee is relieved of all work-related duties. Working time includes rest periods of short duration, usually 20 minutes or less. (454 CMR 27.02)
Reporting Pay - When an employee who is scheduled to work three or more hours reports for duty at the time set by the employer and that employee is not provided with the expected hours of work, the employee is to be paid for at least three hours at no less than the basic minimum wage. This regulation does not apply to charitable organizations. (454 CMR 27.04(1))
On-call Time - All on-call time is compensable working time unless the employee is not required to be at the work site or another location and is effectively free to use his/her time for his/her own purpose. (454 CMR 27.04(2))
An employee required to be on duty at the work site for less than 24 hours is working even if the employee is permitted to sleep or engage in other personal activities when not busy;
When an employee is required to be on duty at the work site for 24 hours or more, the employee and employee may agree in writing to exclude bona fide meal periods and regularly scheduled sleeping periods of not more than 8 hours from working time, provided the employer provides adequate sleeping quarters and the employee can enjoy an uninterrupted period of sleep. If no prior written agreement is made, sleeping time and meal time will constitute compensable working time. If the sleeping period is interrupted by a call to duty, all time on duty must be counted as working time. If the sleeping period is interrupted to such an extent that the employee cannot get a reasonable period of sleep, the entire period must be counted as working time.
If an employee resides on an employer's premises on a permanent basis or for extended periods of time, not all time spent on the premises is considered working time. The employer and the employee may make any reasonable written agreement as to hours worked which takes into consideration all of the pertinent facts; provided, however, that the employee shall be compensated for all time in which job-related duties are actually performed, and on-call time shall be compensated in accordance with 454 CMR 27.04(2). (454 CMR 27.04(3))
Travel Time - Ordinary travel between home and work is not compensable. If an employee who regularly works at a fixed location is required to report to another location, the employee shall be compensated for that travel and reimbursed for associated transportation expenses. (454 CMR 27.04(4))
Deductions for Lodging - Under certain circumstances an employer may deduct from the basic minimum wage certain sums for lodging. (454 CMR 27.05(2))
Deductions for Meals - Under certain circumstances an employer may deduct from the basic minimum wage certain sums for meals. (454 CMR 27.05(3))
Deductions for Uniforms - There are limitations on an employer deducting from one's wages expenses related to uniforms. (454 CMR 27.05(4))
For a person employed in agriculture and farming the minimum wage is $8.00 per hour. The cost of board, lodging or other facilities is not included as part of the wage paid to any such employee. (M.G.L.c. 151, s. 2A)
A migrant farm worker not under a contract approved by the government after ten days of employment must be provided health insurance that meets certain specified standards. The employer must pay sixty per cent of the insurance premium. (M.G.L.c. 151, s. 2B)
The minimum wage for tipped employees who make more than $20 a month in tips is now $6.75 per hour. For employers to pay these employees this different minimum wage, they must inform the employee of this law, the employee must receive at least the $15.00 minimum wage when actual tips and wages are combined, and the employer must calculate the additonal amount owed to employee at the completion of each shift worked by the employee with payments to the employee then made. In addition, all tips must be retained by the employee or distributed through a valid tip-pool as defined by M.G.L.c. 149, s. 152A. (M.G.L.c. 151, s. 7)
The Director of the Department of Labor Standards may issue an employer a special certificate authorizing employment at a rate less than the established minimum fair wage rates for a learner, an employee in an approved apprentice training program, an employee whose earning capacity is impaired by age or physical or mental deficiency or injury, or an employee who is certified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services as a handicapped person. (M.G.L.c. 151, s. 9)
An employer or its agent who discriminates against an employee because the employee has complained of a violation of M.G.L.c. 151 is liable for damages of not less than one month's wages but no more than two month's wages of such individual, costs of the suit and reasonable attorney's fees. (M.G.L.c. 151, s. 19)
An action under M.G.L.c. 151 must be commenced within three years after the cause of action accrued; however, the limitation period is tolled from the date the employee files a complaint with the attorney general until the date the attorney general issues a letter authorizing a private right of action. (M.G.L.c. 151, s. 20A)
An employee who prevails is such action will be awarded treble damages, the costs of litigation and reasonable attorney's fees. (M.G.L.c. 151, s. 20)
Employees who have not been paid the minimum wage can instead file an online complaint for "Non-Payment of Wage" with the Massachusetts Attorney General.
In Sullivan v. Sleepy's LLC, 482 Mass. 227 (2019), the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that draws and commissions cannot be retroactively allocated as hourly and overtime wages and Sunday pay even if these draws and commissions equaled or exceeded the minimum wage for the employees' first forty hours of work and one and one-half times the minimum wage for all hours worked over forty hours or on Sunday.
In the case of Jinks v. Credico (USA) LLC, 488 Mass. 691 (2021), the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that the appropriate test under the Massachusetts wage and hour laws to determine whether an entity is a joint employer is the multifactor test used to determine joint employer status under the Fair Labor Standares Act (29 U.S.C. s. 206). Under that test, courts consider the totality of circumstances of the relationship between the employee and the entity, guided by a framework of four factors: whether the entity (1) had the power to hire and fire the individual, (2) supervised and controlled the individual's work schedules or conditions of employment, (3) determined the rate and method of payment, and (4) maintained employment records.