Getting Paid in Massachusetts – Know Your Rights

Getting Paid in Massachusetts – Know Your Rights

employment-law-massachusetts-culik-lawMassachusetts has strict requirements on how, when, and how much an employee is entitled to be paid. Violations of these laws can result in severe consequences for the businesses who break them — often including punitive damages of three times the amount of unpaid wages. Some of the areas include:


  • Wage and hour violations
  • Unpaid overtime
  • Unpaid commissions
  • Unpaid bonuses
  • Unpaid vacation pay
  • Illegal deductions from pay
  • Misclassification as an independent contractor

Timely Paychecks 

Businesses must pay employees within six days of the end of the pay period, if the individual was employed for five or six days during the pay period.

If the employee was employed for seven days or a period of less than three days, the employee must be paid no later than seven days from the end of the pay period.

Fired or laid off employees must be paid all pay and wages due and owing on the day of termination. This includes all vacation time earned, even if it was earned under an oral policy.

No Docking Pay For Arriving Late

An employer generally may dock the pay of an employee who arrives late for work, but the employer may deduct only the amount that would have been paid during the time the employee was late. The employer cannot penalize an employee by deducting time that was actually worked.

Detailed Paychecks

All employers must furnish a pay slip or check stub showing the employer’s name, employee’s name, date, number of hours worked, hourly rate of pay and amounts of deductions or increases made for the pay period.

Overtime Pay

Most hourly and salaried employees must be paid 1.5 times their hourly rate for every hour in excess of 40 hours per week.

Professional, executive and administrative employees are exempt from overtime, and so are about 20 other classifications of workers.

Generally, non-managerial employees working more than forty hours in any given week must be paid one and one half times their regular rate of pay. There are several exemptions to this requirement.

For example, if a pay period is bi-weekly and the employee works 60 hours during the first week and 20 in the second, the employee must be paid overtime for the 20 hours of overtime worked during the first week, even though there were a total of 80 hours worked.

Overtime For Retail Employees on Sundays and Holidays

Employees who work in retail stores on Sundays and on some holidays may be eligible to receive overtime pay. All retail employees must be paid 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for hours worked on New Year’s Day, Veteran’s Day, and Columbus Day.

To be eligible for overtime pay on the following days, the following criteria must be met. For retail employees who work in stores with eight or more employees at one location, they must be paid 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for hours worked on Sundays, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day.

Generally, employers cannot force retail employees to work on Sundays.

Any store that employs more than seven people, including the proprietor, on any day throughout the week, must pay all non-exempt employees 1.5 times their hourly rate for working on Sundays.

Vacation Pay

Most companies are not legally required to give vacation time. But if an employer agrees to provide a vacation, the company must abide by the criteria set forth by its policy.

Vacations may be given at the discretion of the employer, and so it may have a policy which determines when a vacation may be taken.

Time Off To Vote

Voting is our Constitution right. Under Massachusetts law, an employer must give their employee up to 2 hours off to vote, if their employee requests it. The employee does not have to use vacation time for this purpose, but does not have to be paid for this time.

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Culik Law is a Massachusetts Law Firm. The posts on Culik Law’s blog are not intended as legal advice. If you have questions about your particular situation, CONTACT CULIK LAW for a Free Consultation.

Joe Culik

Joe Culik

Attorney Joe Culik has built his reputation on helping people and has dedicated his practice in Boston, Massachusetts to consumer protection, employee rights, and small business and franchise law.