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Massachusetts Wage and Hour Laws

In Massachusetts, workers are protected by both federal and state laws regarding wage and hour requirements. The major federal law governing wages and hours is called the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The major state laws governing pay day requirements are known as the Massachusetts Minimum Fair Wage Law and Regulations. These laws address not only the payment of the basic minimum wage, but also regulate how many hours they can be required to work, and the special rules that apply to younger workers.

Here, we will focus on Massachusetts state law including pay day requirements (frequency and manner), minimum wages and overtime pay.

Pay Day Requirements: How Often

A Commonwealth employer must pay wages weekly or every two (2) weeks. An employer must pay employees who work five (5) or six (6) days in a calendar week within six (6) days of the end of the pay period. An employer must pay employees who work seven (7) days in a calendar week within seven (7) days of the end of the pay period. An employer must pay employees who work fewer than five (5) days in a calendar week within seven (7) days of the end of the pay period.

Method of Payment

An employer may pay wages by cash, check, or direct deposit, so long as the employee consents

What is the Minimum Wage in Massachusetts?

The minimum wage for employees is $8.00 per hour. The minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.63 per hour.

When is an Employee Entitled to Overtime Pay?

Most employees must be paid one and one-half times their regular hourly rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a given work week. State law does not require overtime after eight hours in a day.

Where can an employee file a wage complaint if the employee believes they have not been paid properly?

Complaints may be filed with the Office of the Attorney General's Fair Labor and Business Practices Division.

Is there a Penalty to an Employer for Failing to Follow Wage and Hour Laws?

Yes. Failure to pay the legal minimum wage and other violations may result in payment of back wages and civil or criminal action where warranted. Click here to file a claim or make a report.

The following box contains information concerning Massachusetts wage and hour laws (Commonwealth's Minimum Fair Wage Law). See Fair Wages FAQ, Exempt Employees, and Employees Rights 101 the for more information.

Code Sections

Wage and Hours in the Workplace

1) Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

2) Minimum Fair Wage Law, MGL ch. 151, sec. 1 through 22.

Pay Day Requirements

Employers must pay their employees within (6) six days of the end of the pay period during which the wages were earned if the individual was employed for (5) five or (6) six days during the pay period. If the employee was employed for seven days or a period of less than three days, they must be paid no later than (7) seven days from the end of the pay period.

Method of Payment

Cash, check, or direct deposit if the employee consents.

Minimum Wage

Hourly Employees $8.00 per hour

Tipped Employees: $2.63 per hour. If the employee does not receive $8.00 per hour including tips, the employer must make up the difference.

Agricultural Workers: $1.60

Overtime Pay

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

Workers Not Covered Under Minimum Wage Laws

***Workers not covered under Massachusetts minimum wage law may still be entitled to protection under federal law***

  • Employees being rehabilitated or trained in charitable like the Red Cross,
  • Employees at educational, or religious institutions;
  • Members of religious orders;
  • Agricultural, floricultural, and horticultural workers;
  • Employees in professional service, and outside salespersons not reporting to or visiting their office daily.

Massachusetts Division of Labor Standards (617) 626-6952, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General.

Meal Breaks

Massachusetts law states that employees must receive a 30-minute break after six hours of working. An employee must be free to leave the workplace during the break. An employee can voluntarily give up the meal break, but must be paid for all hours worked.

Praying During Meal Breaks

Employees are allowed to pray during their meals breaks because this time is considered the employee's personal time.

State employment laws are constantly changing. Please consider contacting a local employment lawyer who can help you better understand current Massachusetts laws.

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