Minimum Wage

Massachusetts law sets the minimum wage at $9.00 per hour for most workers. The minimum wage law applies regardless of how an employee's compensation is calculated. Whether you're paid a salary, an hourly rate or your pay is strictly commission based, you are entitled to earn the equivalent of $9.00 per hour for each hour worked in a given workweek. Employers who fail to pay the minimum wage can be subject to stiff penalties, including the payment of triple damages to employees who have been under-compensated. Have you been paid less than the minimum wage for the hours you've worked? Here are some common scenarios in which workers aren't properly paid:

Tipped Employees

Any employee who receives more than $20 a month in tips is considered a "tipped employee."  The minimum wage for tipped employees is $3.00 per hour, but this minimum wage applies only if the employee earns the equivalent of the minimum wage for each hour worked.  If a tipped employee's wages plus the actual tips the employee receives do not equal the minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference.  Learn more about tipped employees here.

Salaried Employees

Workers who are compensated with a salary must earn at least the minimum wage.  In Massachusetts, the minimum an employee can earn for a 40 hour work week is $360.  Additionally, federal law requires that federal minimum wage and overtime rules be adhered to unless a worker is considered "exempt" because of the nature of the job they perform.  An "exempt" worker must generally be paid a weekly salary of at least $455.  The failure to pay a salaried worker correctly can subject an employer to stiff penalties, including payment of triple damages to improperly compensated workers. Learn more about salaried employees here.

Employees Earning a Commission

Employees who are paid partially or completely by commission must be paid at least the equivalent of $9.00 per hour for each hour worked. If an employee does not earn this amount through commissions, the employer must make up the difference. Furthermore, the overtime laws generally apply to employees earning a commission.  If an employee earning a commission is entitled to overtime pay and works more than 40 hours, the employer is responsible for paying overtime. Learn more about commissions here.

On-Call Employees

All workers must be paid for time that is "controlled" by an employer or that benefits an employer.  A worker must be compensated if his or her employer requires the worker to physically stay at a workplace, even if no work is done or assigned during that time.  If the worker is free to leave the workplace but must respond to calls, pages or emails while away, the worker may be entitled to compensation for time spent doing such work, including the payment of overtime where appropriate. Learn more about breaks from work here.

Employees Denied Compensation

For various and complex reasons, some workers may actually work, for extended periods of time, without compensation.  A worker's decision to work despite an employer's failure to pay wages should not be held against the worker.  We have seen workers who worked without compensation where the employer made repreated promises that all unpaid wages would ultimately be paid.  Workers may also work for an employer without compensation because they have been threatened or coerced into doing so.  One of the most rewarding aspects of practicing this area of law is helping workers who have been denied significant amounts of wages by the deliberate malfeasance of an employer.  Helping workers recover under such circumstances is exceptionally gratifying. Learn more about unpaid wages here.

Contact our office or fill out the form on the right if you think that you have been improperly paid.