Massachusetts created labor laws to protect workers’ rights within the state. Employees in Massachusetts should carefully read these laws, as the laws will tell an employee what rights they have in regards to their employment and work environment. The labor laws of Massachusetts also outline the procedures employees can use to protect these rights.

What Is Part-Time vs. Full-Time in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts does not have a set amount of time you have to work to be considered part-time or full-time. Most companies will hold that 40 hours per week is full-time, and less than that is part-time. Employees should reach out to their HR department to find out if they are considered full-time or part-time employees in the company.

How Much Is Minimum Wage in Massachusetts?

The minimum wage in Massachusetts is $11 per hour. For tipped employees, the minimum wage is $3.75 per hour. Agricultural workers who are family members or under 17 have a minimum wage of $8 per hour.

Overtime

Massachusetts adheres to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirement of paying 1 and ½ times your regular pay if you work over 40 hours per week. They also do not limit mandatory overtime, so an employer can require an employee to work as many hours as they want the employee to work. Certain jobs are not entitled to overtime such as professionals, executives and some seasonal employees.

Health Benefits

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is the current federal healthcare law. Under the ACA, any employer that has more than 50 or more full-time employees must offer health insurance. This plan must cover at least 60% of typical health costs. If your company has less than 50 employees, then it is up to the company to decide whether they will provide health insurance to any employees.

Massachusetts also has its own laws on healthcare called the Massachusetts Healthcare Reform Act. Under this law employer have to provide their fair share of insurance to employees. The amount of insurance they have to provide depends on the number of full-time employees the company has. The law considers anyone who works 35 hours or more in a week to be full-time for insurance. For companies with 25-50 full-time employees the company has to cover 25% of its employees or pay 33% of the premiums for individual plans. For companies with more than 50 employees they have to cover 75% of their employees. Or they have to cover 25% of its employees and pay 33% of the premiums for individual plans.

It is important to note that the health insurance laws may change soon and employees should consult with a local lawyer in case there are any new laws that may become effective in the near future.

Discrimination

In Massachusetts, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee for their race, gender, religion, national origin, or ancestry. If you have been discriminated against by an employer, you can file a complaint with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). There are several time limits about which you should be careful, and you should speak with a local lawyer to find out what they are.

The state also protects employees from retaliation from the employer for filing a discrimination claim. Furthermore, Massachusetts does not limit the amount of damages you can win for a discrimination lawsuit.

Time Off

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) only covers employees that are employed by companies that have 50 or more employees and conduct business in multiple states. Under FMLA, an employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, medical and health benefits during that leave and the right to go back to their job when they return.

Massachusetts also has a maternity and paternity leave law called the Parental Leave Law (PLL). Under the PLL, new parents are permitted to take up to 8 weeks off without risking the loss of their job. It does not apply to all employers, but only to those who have at least 6 employees that have worked there for at least 3 months. PLL also applies to all government employees. However, each local government entity has its own set of benefits for employees, so you should check with your HR department about what rights you may have in terms of unpaid or paid leave.   

Where Can I Find a Local Employment Lawyer to Help Me?

Employment law violations are difficult to prove on your own. If you think you are not getting the basic rights and protections offered by Massachusetts’ labor laws, then contact a Massachusetts lawyer today.