Massachusetts Employment Laws

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 What Are Massachusetts' Employment Laws?

Massachusetts has its own set of employment laws in addition to federal employment law. These regulations aim to safeguard workers while also allowing employers to operate legally. As a result, Massachusetts’ employment regulations are comprehensive and deal with a wide range of topics.

Blue Laws

The “Blue Laws” are laws that are in effect in Massachusetts. These regulations restrict an employer’s ability to have their staff work on Sundays and federally recognized holidays.

Companies may also be compelled to pay a rate equal to one and a half times the employee’s base salary in certain circumstances, particularly where employers are allowed to engage their employees on Sundays and holidays.

Breaks and Meals

All businesses are legally required by Massachusetts labor rules to never make their staff work more than six hours in a single day without giving them a half-hour break.

The break or lunch period may not be compensated, particularly if workers are relieved of all obligations and permitted to leave the office at any time.

Though employees willingly forego their 30-minute breaks at the employers’ request, even if no work is completed, the employers are still required to pay the employees at the federal minimum wage level for the missed breaks. This could entail continuing to work during the employee’s break, staying on the property, or staying “on call.”

If a person works in the ironworks sector, their employer is not required to provide a 30-minute break. The same applies to:

  • Letterpress businesses
  • Publishing
  • Paper mills
  • Any more factories, such as workshops or machine shops

The Massachusetts Attorney General established these exclusions in response to the failures that might arise if employees left the workplace or worked over the usual limits specified by state law. These exemptions, which emphasize the ongoing nature of the numerous procedures and circumstances unique to those businesses, are acceptable as long as no employees are hurt.

Termination Pay

Massachusetts’s labor laws do not mandate that businesses give their workers any type of severance pay. Any employer who offers severance benefits is free to do so, and any such decision must be made per the terms of service outlined in the firm’s internal policies and employment contracts.

Untimely Wage Payments

It is acceptable for an employer to pay all of its employees on a semimonthly, monthly, or weekly basis in the state of Massachusetts. However, the employer does not always follow the law.

According to state legislation, employees must be paid hourly in order to get their paychecks either weekly or biweekly.

The situation is different for salaried workers, who may be paid weekly, bimonthly, semimonthly, or monthly. However, employers are not permitted to pay their paid staff monthly unless the employee finds the monthly schedule more convenient.

After the end of a pay period for which any wages were earned while the employee worked five to six days in a given week, the employer is required to pay the employee within six business days. If a worker completes all seven days of a particular workweek, their employer is required to pay them within a week. Employees who choose to work overtime or who are obliged to do so must be paid for it in the same pay period in which they were paid for their regular workday.

For any reason, overtime pay cannot be postponed; it cannot be paid in dividends each month or in the following cycle of payments.

Not Paying Wages After Termination

An employer is required to pay an employee all outstanding wages on the last day of employment, especially upon termination. The same holds true for fired employees. On the final day of employment, an employer must pay a terminated or laid-off employee all wages due.

If and when an employee leaves on their own volition, the company may defer paying that employee’s wages until the following regular payday, at which point the employee would receive money as usual.

Employees are Incorrectly Classified as Exempt or Non-Exempt

Like the Fair Labor Standards Act, Massachusetts state law creates several types of workers excluded from regulations governing minimum wage and overtime.

For real executive, professional, and administrative roles, the state has adopted many of the same categories as the FLSA. Furthermore, Massachusetts has its own statutory employee dossier, which lists employees exempt from minimum wage and overtime pay regulations.

Most employees are legally considered eligible for overtime pay, despite the fact that many employers classify their workers as overtime exemptions.

Failure to Compensate Salaried Employees for Extra Time

Every hour an employee works in a given week above 40 hours and qualifies for overtime pay must be compensated at one and a half times their base pay rate.

Employers frequently break overtime laws without realizing it. Employers frequently mistakenly believe that overtime pay is included in employee salaries. The state holds a different view and does not legally permit businesses to add any supposed overtime pay to the base pay rate of any salaried employee.

An employee is not automatically ineligible for overtime pay just because they are paid on a salary basis.

The sort of job that a person performs for an employer determines their eligibility, as does a minimum threshold of $455 per week required by law to go to the employee.

Employee Misclassification

By misclassifying their employees, businesses frequently make a failed attempt to escape their obligations and requirements under the wage, labor, and overtime laws. Employers categorize their staff as independent contractors to avoid providing full employee benefits.

State legislation assumes that everyone who is not free from the employer’s control is an employee at the institution.

In addition, Massachusetts presumes that a person is an employee if they render any services to an employer that are “outside the ordinary course of the employer’s business” or if they “are customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business of the same nature as that involved in the service rendered.”

In determining whether a person may be properly classified as other than an employee under prong two, the Fair Labor Division of the Office of the Attorney General stated that they “will consider whether the service the individual is performing is necessary to the business of the employing unit or merely incidental.”

What Is A Valid Setoff In Massachusetts?

The state attorney general evaluates a specific company and its employees’ agreement before deciding for each instance. They assess the potential justifications for a setoff agreement as well as the employer’s general pay deduction policies.

Are Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Prohibited?

Yes. Based on federal law, every state provides some level of protection from sexual harassment and discrimination. Massachusetts law consists of the following:

  • Discrimination: The categories listed under “at-will” are all protected classifications.
  • Unwanted advances: Any unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical actions of a sexual character at work are all considered to be sexual harassment.

Do I Need an Attorney?

You should speak with an employment lawyer right away if you think your rights as an employee have been violated. An employment lawyer in Massachusetts will be able to evaluate your situation in light of Massachusetts legislation and work to ensure that you receive the respect you are due.

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