Massachusetts Overtime Law: Understanding Your Rights and Obligations
Mastering Massachusetts Overtime Law
Both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") and Massachusetts overtime law mandate premium overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a week for non-exempt employees. Overtime rates entitle employees to one and a half times their regular hourly rate for each hour worked beyond 40 hours. Understanding these regulations is crucial for both employers and employees to ensure fair compensation and compliance with the law.
Why Understanding Overtime Rules Is Essential
It's imperative to grasp the intricacies of overtime regulations because if an employee is owed unpaid overtime, they have the right to pursue legal action and recover two to three times their actual damages. Additionally, employers may be required to reimburse the employee's legal fees. The remedies for overtime violations differ between federal and state law, so it's vital to discern which law applies to your situation.
Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees: Who Qualifies for Overtime?
Determining who is exempt from overtime can be complex. To be considered exempt, an employee must meet three criteria:
Exempt Definition: The Salary Basis Test
While being paid on a salary basis is an essential threshold for exemption, it's not the sole determinant. If an employee's pay is consistent week to week despite varying hours worked, they are likely paid on a "salary basis." Regularly docking pay for missed hours or days may disqualify the employee from this classification.
Exempt Definition: Minimum Salary Requirement
The minimum salary requirement increased in 2020, making it essential to monitor whether employees still meet this criterion. If an employee earns less than $35,568 annually and isn't paid overtime, they may have a valid claim.
Exempt Definition: What Are Exempt Duties?
Exemptions are categorized into three main types: professional, executive, and administrative. These categories encompass a wide range of job roles, but determining eligibility can be intricate. Read more about exempt and non-exempt duties.
Overtime Rules for Highly Compensated Employees
Highly compensated employees earning $107,432 or more in total compensation are considered exempt, provided they regularly perform recognized exempt duties. Prior to 2020, the threshold was $100,000. Salary contributes to this threshold, but additional compensation can come from commissions, bonuses, or other payments.
What it Means to Be Non-Exempt
Being classified as non-exempt means you're entitled to 1.5 times your regular rate of pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a week, even if you don't formally track your hours.
Furthermore, under new Massachusetts law, you can't be held to a non-compete agreement if you're classified as non-exempt. This applies to non-compete agreements signed on or after October 1, 2018.
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Wondering About Your Rights Under the Overtime Laws?
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How Our Employment Lawyers Can Help
Whether you're an employer seeking to understand your obligations or an employee wanting to ensure your rights are protected, our expert resources and guidance will help you navigate Massachusetts overtime law effectively. 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.