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Unpaid Wages | Wage and Hour


Massachusetts has one of the strongest laws in the country when it comes to unpaid wages. Any employer who fails to pay wages to an employee is liable for three times the amount of unpaid wages, plus court costs and attorney’s fees, under the Massachusetts Wage Act, Mass. General Laws chapter 149, section 150.


What counts as unpaid wages? Many things:


  • Employees must be paid within seven days of the end of the pay period.
  • All employees must be paid weekly or biweekly, although some professional employees may be paid monthly or semi-monthly.
  • A fired employee must be paid all wages due on the day that he or she is fired.
  • On an employee’s pay stubs, the employer must list the name of the employer, the name of the employee, the day, month, year, number of hours worked, and hourly rate, and the amounts of deductions or increases made for the pay period.
  • All commissions for commissioned employees must be paid when the amount of the commission is owed.
  • An employer may not “set off” or make deductions from wages based on amounts the employer thinks it is owed from the employee from, for example, damage or alleged theft.
  • If an employer provides paid vacation, the employer must pay for any unused vacation time. This includes employees who are terminated.


If wages are unpaid, an employee cannot go straight to court, however. It is mandatory that a complaint be filed with the Attorney General first asking for permission to file suit. These requests are routinely granted, but the request must be made beforehand.


Culik Law has experience with Massachusetts Wage Act issues and can provide you with a no-risk consultation about your wage issue.