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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 40 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
  • Fishermen
  • Switchboard operator in a public telephone exchange
  • Employees of seasonal businesses
  • Seaman
  • Hotel, motel or motor court employees
  • Gasoline station employees
  • Garagemen
  • 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 minimum wage in Massachusetts is $12.00 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 $4.35. Massachusetts law places a limit on how much the minimum wage can be reduced for meals and lodging.

The minimum wage for agricultral workers is $8.00 per hour. Exceptions to this rule are for payment of minors (under age 18) or to immediate family members. 

Do any cities or counties in Massachusetts have a minimum wage that is different from state or federal law?

No cities or counties in Massachusetts currently have a minimum wage different from the state minimum of $12.00 per hour.

Does Massachusetts have meal and rest break requirements, unlike federal law?

Under Massachusetts laws about breaks and time off, employees are entitled to a 30-minute meal break within the first six hours of work.

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. The filing should include as much information and documentation as possible and any documents to support the claim.

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. It may be helpful to consult with an attorney prior to filing your claim, but 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

State Agencies

Minimum wage hotline: (617) 626-6952
Email: DLSfeedback@state.ma.us

Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division
Hotline: (617) 727-3465
TTY: (617) 727-4765

Local Offices of the Attorney General 

Boston
Attorney General’s Office
One Ashburton Place 
Boston, MA 02108 
Phone: 617-727-2200 
TTY: 617-727-4765

New Bedford
Attorney General’s Office
Southeastern Massachusetts
105 William Street; First Floor 
New Bedford, MA 02740 
Phone: 508-990-9700 
Fax: 508-990-8686 
TTY: 617-727-4765
 
Springfield 
Attorney General’s Office
Western Massachusetts
1441 Main St, 12th Floor
Springfield, MA
01103-1629
Phone: 413-784-1240
Fax: 413-784-1244
TTY: 617-727-4765

Worcester
Attorney General:
Central Massachusetts
10 Mechanic Street, Suite 301
Worcester, MA 01608-2417
Phone: (508) 792-7600
Fax: (508) 795-1991
TTY: (617) 727-4765

Terry A. Venneberg Weekly Weekly

Topic of the Week

Domestic Violence and the Workplace

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With time running out and Republicans balking at more Covid relief, U.S. workers are facing a future of financial misery.

Thought for the Week

"Domestic violence and sexual assault walk in the doors of each and every workplace every day here in the United States. Domestic violence robs our employees of their dignity and their health, and these issues hide in darkness until we bring them into the light."

–Kim Wells | Executive director of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence

List of the Week

from Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

Domestic Violence & The Workplace

  • One in every four women and one in 10 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime
  • The Department of Labor reports that victims of domestic violence lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the U.S., resulting in a $1.8 billion loss in productivity for employers.
  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year and that 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
  • 21% of full-time employed adults said they were victims of domestic violence and 74% of that group said they’ve been harassed at work.
  • 65% of companies don’t have a formal workplace domestic violence prevention policy, according to research conducted by the.

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