Boston Wage & Hour Disputes Lawyers in Massachusetts
Massachusetts has very strict regulations and specific employment laws regarding worker compensation, overtime pay and wage rates for those on public projects.
If you believe there is a discrepancy between what you’ve been paid and what you are owed, or that payment of wages isn’t being properly handled in your workplace, contacted the experienced Boston workers' comp attorneys legal advocates at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman.
We can help to protect your rights and work to resolve your wage-and-hour disputes. We firmly believe workers should be fairly compensated for their work. We are committed to a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding your claim, and to providing an honest assessment of your options to recover any wages owed.Resolving Wage and Hour Dispute Include
- Commissions and/or bonuses
- Employee meal breaks
- Misclassification of status (exempt vs. non-exempt)
- Collection of wages after termination
- Docked pay
- Payment of tips
- Pay is less than state or federal minimum wage
- Compensation for employee travel
- Child labor
- Vacation or sick days
It’s important to understand the situations in which certain employers may be exempt from a certain law or regulation, and when workers have the right to take action for compensation.Minimum Wage
M.G.L. chapter 151, sections 1 and 2, hold that the minimum wage as of Jan. 1, 2015 is $9 hourly. That will be raised to $10 hourly, effective Jan. 1, 2016, and $11 hourly effective Jan. 1, 2017. This applies to all employees except those being rehabilitated or trained in charitable, education, agriculture or religious institutions or salespersons not reporting to or daily visiting the office.
The exception to this rule are those employed as wait staff or service workers if they regularly receive tips of more than $20 monthly, so long as their average hourly tips, when added to the service rate, is equal to or exceeds the basic minimum wage. Even these workers must receive $3 hourly, as of Jan. 1, 2015. That figure increases to $3.35 as of 2016 and to $3.75 as of 2017.
Agricultural employees, meanwhile, must be paid at least $8 hourly under this provision.
Higher rates may be applicable under federal law.Payment of Wages
Employers must ensure payments to workers are made timely.
For example, if the worker was employed for five or six days in a week, payment has to made within six days of the end of the pay period. If the worker was employed seven days in a calendar week, payment has to be made within seven days of the end of the pay period. Workers employed for less than five days (also known as a part-time or casual employee) has to be paid within seven days of the end of the pay period.
Hourly workers have to be paid on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. There are no exceptions. Companies can’t try to make special deals with workers on this point. Pay stubs have to include the name of the company, the name of the worker, the date on which the check was issued, the number of hours worked during the pay period, the hourly rate and any deductions or increases have to be clearly spelled out.
If a worker resigns, he or she has to be paid on the following regular pay day or no later than the next Saturday. A worker who is involuntarily terminated or laid off is due his or her wages in full on the day of discharge.Tips
M.G.L. 149, section 152A governs service charges and tips. The statute is clear that tip pooling is expressly barred. Total proceeds of a tip or service charge must go only to wait staff employees, service employees or bartenders, and any distribution must occur in proportion to the service provided by those workers.
Employers, owners and managers are not to retain any portion of worker tips under any circumstances.Meal Breaks
Employees who work more than six hours at a stretch are entitled to receive a half-hour meal break. During this time, workers are to be relieved of any and all duties. Companies have to pay workers for the 30-minute break if the worker has voluntarily agreed to waive it by working through it or remain on site during it.
The law is inapplicable to those in the industries of:
- Iron workers
- Glass workers
- Paper mills
- Letterpress establishments
- Print workers
- Bleaching or dyeing works
Other exemptions may exist for those in certain factories where special circumstances exist.Overtime
M.G.L. chapter 151, section 1A covers overtime law in Massachusetts. The statute requires all workers be paid a minimum of one-and-a-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a work week. Workers who receive service rates have their rates calculated based on basic minimum wage.
However, there are a host of exemptions for overtime payment. Those include everything from truckers to golf caddies to seasonal farmers to parking lot attendants.
Also excluded are those in certain management positions. However, companies too often wrongly classify a worker as exempt when, in fact, he or she is not, in order to sidestep paying the worker what is rightfully owed.Child Labor
Under M.G.L. chapter 149, sections 56 through 105, employers have to obtain special permits to hire worker under the age of 18. There are also a number of restrictions employers must heed for these workers.
For example, 14- and 15-year-olds can’t work during school hours except when it’s part of an approved career exploration or work experience program. They also can’t be hired to work between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., except during the summer, when they can work until 9 p.m. On school days, they can’t work more than 3 hours daily or more than 18 hours in a week except as part of a work experience or career exploration program, in which case they can work up to 23 hours in a week.
If the worker is 16 or 17, they can’t work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., except when the establishment stops serving customers at 10 p.m., in which case they can work until 15 minutes past that hour. On days that don’t precede a school night, they can only work until 11:30 p.m. (or 12 a.m. at certain establishments). These workers can’t work more than 9 hours in a day, 48 hours in a week or more than 6 days in a given week.
These workers are also barred from certain work in manufacturing or from certain tasks, such as driving a forklift or in any position that requires possession or use of a gun. Companies that hire underage workers assume responsibility for adequate and reasonable supervision of these workers.
If you believe an employer has failed to correctly pay you, miscalculated a substantial bonus, improperly classified you or committed some other violation of state or federal wage and hour law, it’s time to seek the knowledgeable advice of an experienced Boston lawyer.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.
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