Massachusetts Minimum Wage
Massachusetts Minimum Wage: Stay Informed and Compliant
The Massachusetts minimum wage has consistently surpassed the federal minimum wage, and recent changes in state law have further widened the gap. This upward trend in the Massachusetts minimum wage is set to continue through 2023, making it essential for both employers and employees to stay informed and compliant with these evolving regulations.
Below, we offer a concise overview of Massachusetts minimum wage rules to help you get started.
How Much is the Minimum Wage in Massachusetts
The minimum wage represents the lowest hourly rate an employer can legally pay its employees. While the federal minimum wage, established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), currently stands at $7.25 per hour, Massachusetts mandates a higher minimum wage rate. State law prevails when it dictates a rate above the federal minimum.
In Massachusetts, the minimum wage is currently $15.00 per hour, set to increase to $15.00 per hour at the outset of 2023. Tipped employees, such as waitstaff and bartenders, receive a lower hourly wage, with the expectation that tips will bridge the gap to reach the minimum wage. Agricultural and farming employees in Massachusetts are also subject to a reduced minimum wage, currently set at $8.00 per hour. It's worth noting that minimum wage requirements apply differently to employee travel time, depending on the specific circumstances.
Minimum Wage Law Violations: Protecting Employee Rights
Massachusetts takes the enforcement of state minimum wage laws seriously. Employers found in violation can be subject to legal action. In the event of a violation, employers are required to pay three times the unpaid wages to the affected employee. Moreover, they must cover the employee's legal fees and associated costs.
Reporting wage violations initiates the process, with complaints first directed to the Massachusetts Attorney General. While the Attorney General may investigate, they commonly issue a "right to sue" letter to the employee. To file a civil suit and recover unpaid wages, this document is a prerequisite, underscoring the importance of promptly submitting the Attorney General complaint if you believe you are owed wages.
Massachusetts Minimum Wage and Small Business
The wage increases over the past several years have understandably raised concerns among small business owners, as payroll constitutes a significant portion of their expenses. While the percentage-based rise over five years is substantial, it's crucial to recognize the potential ramifications of paying below the minimum wage in Massachusetts.
Falling short in wage compliance can lead to dire consequences, including triple damages for employees, coverage of their legal fees, and expenses incurred in defending your business. Staying informed about annual minimum wage adjustments is essential. Additionally, factors such as commission-based employees, tip pooling regulations for waitstaff and bartenders, and the application of minimum wage laws to salaried employees may impact your obligations.
Need Help With a Minimum Wage Problem?
Wondering About Your Rights or Obligations Under the Minimum Wage Law?
Our Solutions Roadmap is a quick and easy way to share the details of what you are facing and receive preliminary feedback from a member of our team. Use the button below to get started- it is 100% confidential and 100% free.
How Our Employment Lawyers Can Help
At slnlaw, we are committed to helping businesses and employees navigate the complexities of minimum wage regulations. Stay informed, comply with the law, and ensure the financial health of your business by partnering with our expert team. You can use the button below to schedule a call back from a member of our team, or give us a call at 781-784-2322.