The Office of the Attorney General works to protect employees from exploitation by an employer; prosecute employers who are failing to follow the Commonwealth’s wage and hour laws; and set a level playing field that the Commonwealth’s employers can follow. Learn more about worker rights regarding prevailing wage, minimum wage, payment of wages, overtime, tip pooling, child labor, Sunday and holiday premium pay laws, and more in this section of the Attorney General’s website.
Massachusetts laws provides a minimum set of standards for when, how and how much employees must be paid. Learn more about these requirements by consulting with an experienced Boston, Massachusetts labor lawyer about minimum wage, tips, overtime, vacation, “small necessities leave,” meal breaks, and Sunday and holiday openings. Also find instructions for filing a wage complaint, and information about an employee’s private right to sue.
The Minimum Fair Wage Law and Regulations address not only the payment of the basic minimum wage but also overtime; the minimum wage for tipped employees; reporting pay; on-duty or on-call time; travel time and expenses; deductions for lodging, meals, and uniforms; and wage records that employers are required to keep.
You have the right to a safe workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) was passed to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work. The law requires employers to provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. Learn more about your rights here.
The Office of the Attorney General works to protect employees from exploitation by an employer; prosecute employers who are failing to follow the Commonwealth’s wage and hour laws; and set a level playing field that the Commonwealth’s employers can follow. The office is responsible for enforcing the prevailing wage, minimum wage, payment of wages, overtime, tip pooling, child labor, and Sunday and holiday premium pay laws.
Tipped employees must be paid a minimum of $2.63 per hour provided that with tips, the employee receives at least $8.00 per hour including tips. If the total hourly rate for the employee, including tips does not equal $8.00, then the employer must make up the difference.
Under Mass. General Laws, c.149, s.152A, an employer can require service employees to pool their tips only with other service employees, service bartenders, or wait staff. Total proceeds of a tip or service charge contained in a bill must be remitted only to wait staff employees or service bartenders in proportion to the service provided by those employees. Under no circumstances may management employees or owners receive any portion of their employees’ tips.
Massachusetts law states that employees must receive a 30-minute break after six hours of working. An employee must be free to leave the workplace during the break. An employee can voluntarily give up the meal break, but must be paid for all hours worked. Compensation for the 30-minute meal break must be paid if the employee has voluntarily agreed to waive his or her meal break by (1) working through his or her meal break, or (2) remaining on the premises at the request of the employer during the meal break. The break period may be unpaid. Certain exemptions from this requirement can be found in M.G.L. c. 149, s. 101.
Employers who choose to provide paid vacation to their employees must treat those payments like any other wages under M.G.L. c. 149, s. 148. Withholding vacation payments is the equivalent of withholding wages and, as such, is illegal. Employees must be paid for all earned vacation upon termination of employment.
Employers can protect themselves by adopting clear and unambiguous vacation policies that comply with the law. The AGO urges employers to give employees copies of their written vacation policy at the beginning of employment and to have each employee acknowledge in writing his or her understanding of the policy.
In 1999, the Attorney General’s Office issued, “An Advisory from the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division on Vacation Policies” (1999/1), putting forth the AGO’s understanding of the laws surrounding vacation policies.