Filing a Wage and Hour Claim – Massachusetts
Does Massachusetts have state overtime laws that are different from federal law?
Under Massachusetts law, employers must pay employees at a rate of one and one-half the employee’s regular hourly wage for working more than forty hours in one week.
Some employees are exempt from the overtime requirement. Employees engaged in administrative, professional, executive, agricultural, motor carrier, or outside sales activities are exempt from the overtime requirement. Additionally, the following occupations are exempt under Massachusetts law:
- Janitors or caretakers of residential property furnished with living quarters and paid at least $30.00 per week
- Gold caddies, newsboys or child actors or performers
- Learners or apprentices
- Disabled workers
- Switchboard operator in a public telephone exchange
- Employees of seasonal businesses
- Hotel, motel or motor court employees
- Gasoline station employees
- Restaurant employees
- Hospital, sanatorium, convalescent or nursing home, infirmary, rest home or charitable home for the aged employees
- Non-profit school or college employees
- Employees of summer camps operated by a non-profit charitable corporation
- Amusement park employees
Does Massachusetts have a minimum wage that is different from federal law?
The current minimum wage in Massachusetts is $8.00 per hour, which is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Generally, employers cannot use other costs of employments to decrease the minimum wage required. Employers, however, can use tips and gratuities to reduce the minimum wage required to $2.63. Massachusetts law places a limit on how much the minimum wage can be reduced for meals and lodging.
Does Massachusetts have meal and rest break requirements, unlike federal law?
Under Massachusetts law, employees are entitled to a thirty minute meal break within the first six hours of work. Additional information on Massachusetts meal and rest requirements is available at http://www.mass.gov/ago/docs/workplace/wage/wagehourbrochure-final.pdf.
How do I file a wage/hour or labor standards claim in Massachusetts?
You can file a wage complaint with the local Office of the Attorney General’s Fair Labor and Business Practices Division. This can be done by filling out a Non-Payment of Wage Complaint Form available at http://www.mass.gov/ago/doing-business-in-massachusetts/labor-laws-and-public-construction/file-a-wage-complaint.html The filing should include as much information and documentation as possible and any documents to support the claim.
This process can be complete with or without an attorney. Additional information on filing a wage claim is available at http://www.mass.gov/ago/docs/workplace/wage/wagehourbrochure-final.pdf
What are my time deadlines?
If you have a wage/hour complaint, do not delay in contacting the Office of the Attorney General to file a claim. There are strict time limits in which wage claims must be filed. In order for the Office to act on your behalf, you must file the complaint within three years from the date that the claim arose.
As you might have other legal claims with shorter deadlines, do not wait to file your claim until your time limit is close to expiring. You may wish to consult with an attorney prior to filing your claim, if possible. Yet if you are unable to find an attorney who will assist you, it is not necessary to have an attorney to file your claim.
How can I or my attorney pursue a claim in court in Massachusetts?
Ninety days after filing a wage complaint with or receiving written permission from the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, or employee can file a lawsuit to recover unpaid wages, triple damages, attorney’s fees and costs.
Local Offices of the Attorney General
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
100 Cambridge Street
105 William Street; First Floor
New Bedford, MA 02740
Fair Labor and Business Practices
184 North Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Ph: 413-447-7324 ext. 218
Western Massachusetts Division
1350 Main St, 4th Floor
Springfield, MA 01103-1629
One Exchange Place
Worcester, MA 01608
TTY: (617) 727-4765
This material was originally prepared by attorney Joseph Jaramillo and former law clerks Keia Cole and Adam Weiss of the law firm Goldstein, Demchak Baller Borgen and Dardarian, and was updated by Professor Douglas D. Scherer, of Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center. Professor Scherer also serves as the Vice President of Workplace Fairness.
© 2015 Workplace Fairness