State Law > Massachusetts > Massachusetts Overtime Pay Law

Massachusetts Overtime Pay Law

 

Massachusetts' law regarding overtime pay can be found in Part I, Title XXI, Chapter 151 of the General Laws of Massachusetts.

CHAPTER 151
. MINIMUM FAIR WAGES.

Chapter 151: Section 1A. Overtime pay; excluded employment
s.

Section 1A. Except as otherwise provided in this section, no employer in the commonwealth shall employ any of his employees in an occupation, as defined in section two, for a work week longer than forty hours, unless such employee receives compensation for his employment in excess of forty hours at a rate not less than one and one half times the regular rate at which he is employed. Sums paid as commissions, drawing accounts, bonuses, or other incentive pay based on sales or production, shall be excluded in computing the regular rate and the overtime rate of compensation under the provisions of this section.

This section shall not be applicable to any employee who is employed:-

(1) as a janitor or caretaker of residential property, who when furnished with living quarters is paid a wage of not less than thirty dollars per week.

(2) as a golf caddy, newsboy or child actor or performer.

(3) as a bona fide executive, or administrative or professional person or qualified trainee for such position earning more than eighty dollars per week.

(4) as an outside salesman or outside buyer.

(5) as a learner, apprentice or handicapped person under a special license as provided in section nine.

(6) as a fisherman or as a person employed in the catching or taking of any kind of fish, shellfish or other aquatic forms of animal and vegetable life.

(7) as a switchboard operator in a public telephone exchange.

(8) as a driver or helper on a truck with respect to whom the Interstate Commerce Commission has power to establish qualifications and maximum hours of service pursuant to the provisions of section two hundred and four of the motor carrier act of nineteen hundred and thirty-five, or as employee of an employer subject to the provisions of Part 1 of the Interstate Commerce Act or subject to title II of the Railway Labor Act.

(9) in a business or specified operation of a business which is carried on during a period or accumulated periods not in excess of one hundred and twenty days in any year, and determined by the commissioner to be seasonal in nature.

(10) as a seaman.

(11) by an employer licensed and regulated pursuant to chapter one hundred and fifty-nine A.

(12) in a hotel, motel, motor court or like establishment.

(13) in a gasoline station.

(14) in a restaurant.

(15) as a garageman, which term shall not include a parking lot attendant.

(16) in a hospital, sanatorium, convalescent or nursing home, infirmary, rest home or charitable home for the aged.

(17) in a non-profit school or college.

(18) in a summer camp operated by a non-profit charitable corporation.

(19) as a laborer engaged in agriculture and farming on a farm.

(20) in an amusement park containing a permanent aggregation of amusement devices, games, shows, and other attractions operated during a period or accumulated periods not in excess of one hundred and fifty days in any one year .

Chapter 151: Section 1B. Overtime compensation; failure to pay; penalties; deposit of funds.

Any employer or the officer or agent of any corporation who pays or agrees to pay to any employee less than the overtime rate of compensation required by section one A shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149, and each week in which such employee is paid less than such overtime rate of compensation and each employee so paid less, shall constitute a separate offense. In addition, if a person is paid by an employer less than such overtime rate of compensation, the person may institute and prosecute in his own name and on his own behalf, or for himself and for others similarly situated, a civil action for injunctive relief, for any damages incurred, and for the full amount of the overtime rate of compensation less any amount actually paid to him by the employer. An agreement between the person and the employer to work for less than the overtime rate of compensation shall not be a defense to such action. An employee so aggrieved who prevails in such an action shall be awarded treble damages, as liquidated damages, for lost overtime compensation and shall also be awarded the costs of the litigation and reasonable attorneys' fees. At the request of any employee paid less than such overtime rate of compensation, the attorney general may take an assignment of such wage claim in trust for the assigning employee and may bring any legal action necessary to collect such claim, and the employer shall be required to pay the costs and such reasonable attorney's fees as may be allowed by the court. The attorney general shall not be required to pay a filing fee in connection with any such action.

In any action or administrative proceeding by an employee or the commissioner instituted upon such a wage claim in which the employee prevails and the commissioner thereafter in possession of the resulting award is unable after a reasonable search to locate the employee or to identify and locate the employee's successor in interest, the commissioner shall, upon expiration of one year from the date of said award, deposit the funds from any such award, less costs and reasonable attorney's fees where applicable, in the General Fund.

Chapter 151: Section 2. Definitions.

Section 2. The following words and phrases as used in this chapter shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

"A fair wage'', a wage fairly and reasonably commensurate with the value of the service or class of service rendered. In establishing a minimum fair wage for any service or class of service under this chapter the commissioner without being bound by any technical rules of evidence or procedure (1) may take into account the cost of living and all other relevant circumstances affecting the value of the service or class of service rendered, (2) may be guided by like considerations as would guide a court in a suit for the reasonable value of services rendered where services are rendered at the request of an employer in the absence of an express contract as to the amount of the wage to be paid, and (3) may consider the wages paid in the commonwealth for work of like or comparable character by employers who voluntarily maintain minimum fair wage standards.

"A mandatory order'', an order the violation of which is subject to the penalties prescribed in subsection (2) of section nineteen.

"An oppressive and unreasonable wage'', a wage which is both less than the fair and reasonable value of the services rendered and less than sufficient to meet the minimum cost of living necessary for health.

"Commissioner'', the commissioner of labor and workforce development.

"Department'', the department of labor and workforce development.

"Occupation'', an industry, trade or business or branch thereof or class of work therein, whether operated for profit or otherwise, and any other class of work in which persons are gainfully employed, but shall not include professional service, agricultural and farm work, work by persons being rehabilitated or trained under rehabilitation or training programs in charitable, educational or religious institutions, or work by members of religious orders. Occupation shall also not include outside sales work regularly performed by outside salesmen who regularly sell a product or products away from their employer's place of business and who do not make daily reports or visits to the office or plant of their employer.

"Agricultural and farm work'', labor on a farm and the growing and harvesting of agricultural, floricultural and horticultural commodities .

Chapter 151: Section 2A. Agriculture and farming.

Section 2A. It is hereby declared to be against public policy for any employer to employ any person in agriculture and farming in this commonwealth at an oppressive and unreasonable wage and any contract, agreement or understanding for or in relation to such employment shall be null and void. A wage of less than one dollar and sixty cents per hour in agriculture and farming shall be conclusively presumed to be oppressive and unreasonable, wherever the term ""minimum wage'' is used in this chapter, except when such wage is paid to a child seventeen years of age or under, or to a parent, spouse, child or other member of the employer's immediate family. The cost of board, lodging or other facilities shall not be included as a part of the wage paid to any employee to the extent it is excluded therefrom; provided, however, that the commissioner may determine the fair value of such board, lodging or other facilities for defined classes of employees and in defined areas, based on average cost to the employer or to groups of employers similarly situated, or average value to groups of employees, or other appropriate measures of fair value. Such evaluations, where applicable and pertinent, shall be used in lieu of actual measure of cost in determining the wage paid to any employee .

Chapter 151: Section 2B. Migrant farm workers; compulsory health insurance.

Section 2B. Any agricultural employer or grower who employs a migrant farm worker not under a contract approved by the Federal Government or a political sub-division thereof shall provide for said worker, after ten days of employment, health insurance coverage which shall provide him the cost of hospital room and board not to exceed the sum of forty-five dollars multiplied by the number of days of hospital confinement, or the sum of three thousand one hundred and fifty dollars, whichever is lesser, the cost of hospital services and supplies not to exceed the sum of four hundred and fifty dollars with out-patient laboratory and X-ray examination fees not to exceed the sum of fifty dollars for injuries resulting from an accident and fifty dollars for sicknesses suffered by him within each twelve-month period he is so employed, surgical fees not to exceed the sum of four hundred dollars for each operation in accordance with a schedule of fees contained in the policy covering the types of surgery, in-hospital physicians' fees not to exceed the sum of seven dollars multiplied by the number of days of hospital confinement, or the sum of four hundred and ninety dollars, whichever is lesser. There shall be withheld from each weekly payment of wages or salary from said worker an amount equal to forty per cent of the insurance premium payable on said policy, the employer to contribute the remaining sixty per cent. Said employer shall then pay the entire premium when due to the insurer. If an employer or grower fails to withhold from such worker's wages the weekly sum as aforesaid, he shall be liable for the payment of the entire premium. If the worker is disabled for a full week and is unable to work for said week the employer shall pay the entire cost of the premium for that week.

For the purposes of this section the term ""migrant farm worker'' shall mean an employee who seasonally travels interstate to gain employment and lives in a labor camp provided by the employer. Said term shall not include students regularly enrolled in institutions of secondary and higher learning nor shall it include a worker who is covered by a family medical plan .

Chapter 151: Section 3. Powers of commissioner or attorney general.

The commissioner or the attorney general, or their authorized representatives, shall have full power and authority:

1. To investigate and ascertain the wages of persons employed in any occupation in the commonwealth;

2. To enter the place of business or employment of any employer of persons in any occupation, other than domestic service in the home of the employer, for the purpose of examining, inspecting and making a transcript of any and all books, registers, pay-rolls, and other records of any employer of persons that in any way appertain to or have a bearing upon the question of wages of any such persons and for the purpose of ascertaining whether the orders of the commissioner or the attorney general have been and are being complied with; and

3. To require from such employer full and correct statements in writing when the commissioner or the attorney general, or their authorized representatives, deem necessary, of the wages paid to all persons in his employ, such statements to be under oath or accompanied by a written declaration that they are made under the penalties of perjury.

4. To carry out the provisions of this chapter .

Chapter 151: Section 7. Investigation and classification of employments; establishment of minimum fair wage rates; exceptions; overtime.

The commissioner may, and upon the petition of fifty or more citizens of the commonwealth shall, undertake such investigation as may be required to ascertain whether any substantial number of persons in any occupation are receiving oppressive and unreasonable wages, as defined in section one. The commissioner may, subsequent to such investigation, differentiate and classify employments in any occupation according to the nature of the service rendered and recommend appropriate minimum fair wage rates for different classes of employment. The commissioner may establish minimum fair wage rates varying with localities if in its judgment conditions make such local differentiation proper and will not cause unreasonable discrimination against any locality. The commissioner may establish a suitable scale of rates for learners and apprentices in any occupation or occupations, which scale of learners' and apprentices' rates may be less than the regular minimum fair wage rates established for experienced persons in such occupation or occupations, provided that in a retail, merchandising or laundry establishment such scale of learners' and apprentices, rates shall apply only to the first eighty hours during which such learner or apprentice is employed.

The commissioner shall not establish minimum fair wage rates below $1.85 per hour, except for learners and apprentices, and except for ushers, ticket sellers and ticket takers whose minimum fair wage rates shall not be below $1.25, and except for janitors and caretakers of residential property, who, when furnished with living quarters, shall be paid a wage of not less than $36 per week, and except for services as golf caddies, and except for service people who customarily and regularly receive more than $20 a month in tips.

In determining the wage an employer is required to pay a tipped employee, the amount paid to such employee by the employer shall be an amount equal to: (1) the cash wage paid such employee which for purposes of such determination shall be not less than the cash wage required to be paid such an employee on July 1, 1999; and (2) an additional amount on account of the tips received by such employee which amount is equal to the difference between the wage specified in clause (1) and the wage in effect under section 1. The additional amount on account of tips may not exceed the value of the tips actually received by an employee. This paragraph shall not apply with respect to any tipped employee unless such employee has been informed by the employer of the provisions of this paragraph, and all tips received by such employee have been retained by the employee, except that this paragraph shall not be construed to prohibit the pooling of tips among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips.

The commissioner may establish overtime rates for all hours worked in excess of forty hours in any week.


Chapter 151: Section 15. Employer's records; statement furnished to commissione
r.

Every employer shall keep a true and accurate record of the name, address and occupation of each employee, of the amount paid each pay period to each employee, of the hours worked each day and each week by each employee, and such other information as the commissioner or the attorney general in their discretion shall deem material and necessary. Such records shall be kept on file for at least two years after the entry date of the record. Such records shall be maintained at the place of employment, at an office of the employer, or with a bank, accountant or other central location and shall be open to the inspection of the commissioner or the attorney general, or their authorized representatives at any reasonable time, and they shall have the right to make a transcript thereof. Every employer shall furnish to the commissioner, or the attorney general, or their authorized representative, on demand, a sworn statement of such record, and, if the commissioner or the attorney general shall so require upon forms prescribed or approved by him.


Chapter 151: Section 19. Punishments for stated act
s.

(1) Any employer and his agent, or the officer or agent of any corporation who discharges or in any other manner discriminates against any employee, including any employee in the domestic service of any family or person at his home for not less than sixteen hours per week, because such employee has complained of a violation of the provisions of this chapter, or has testified or is about to testify in any investigation or proceeding under or related to this chapter, or because such employer believes that said employee or individual may complain of a violation of the provisions of this chapter, shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149, and shall be liable for damages which shall not be less than one month's wages nor more than two month's wages of such individual, and the costs of the suit, including a reasonable attorney's fee.

(2) Any employer or the officer or agent of any corporation who knowingly pays or agrees to pay to any employee less than the rates applicable to such employee under a regulation minimum fair wage established by the commissioner, or who pays or agrees to pay to any employee less than one dollar and eighty-five cents per hour in any occupation not covered by a minimum wage regulation shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149, and each week in any day of which such employee is paid less than the rate applicable to him under a minimum fair wage regulation and each employee so paid less, shall constitute a separate offense.

(2A) Any employer or the officer or agent of any corporation who knowingly pays or agrees to pay to any employee in agriculture and farming less than one dollar and sixty cents per hour shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149, and each week in any day in which such employee is paid less shall constitute a separate offense.

(3) Any employer or the officer or agent of any corporation who fails to keep the records required under this chapter or to furnish such records to the commissioner, or any authorized representative of the commissioner upon request, or who falsifies such records, or who fails to comply with any requirement of the commissioner under the last sentence of section sixteen, or who hinders or delays the commissioner or any authorized representative of the commissioner in the performance of his duties, or who refuses to admit, or locks out, such commissioner, or such authorized representative from any place of employment, other than places of employment of persons engaged in domestic service in the home of the employer, which he is authorized to inspect, shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149, and each day of such failure to keep such records or to furnish to the commissioner or any authorized representative of the commissioner such records or other information as may be required for the proper enforcement of this chapter shall constitute a separate offense.

(4) No person shall, for the purpose of evading this chapter, establish any arrangement or organization in his business, by contract, lease or agreement, whether written or oral, whereby a person who would otherwise be his employee does not have the status of such an employee. If the commissioner is of the opinion that any person has established an arrangement or organization in violation of this paragraph, after a public hearing, due notice whereof shall have been given, and at which a reasonable opportunity to be heard has been afforded to such person, he may order such person to cease and desist from such violation; and such an order shall be subject to review under section fourteen in the same manner and to the same extent as any decision of the commissioner under this chapter. Any person so ordered to cease and desist who fails to comply therewith for thirty days after such order has been served upon him shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149.

(5) Whoever directly or indirectly solicits, demands, requests or accepts from any employee any return of a portion of his wages, which would result in such employee retaining less than the rate of wages required by this chapter, or whoever threatens, coerces or intimidates any employee who has wages due under this chapter, for the purpose of causing such person to accept as payment in full a lesser sum than the full amount of the wages so due, shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149, and each employee so solicited or threatened shall constitute a separate offense.

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