What is the Difference Between Massachusetts and Federal Overtime Laws?
Both Massachusetts law and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") provide for premium pay for non-exempt workers for any hours worked over forty (40) in a single workweek.
Generally, if you are non-exempt under either federal or Massachusetts law, your entitlement to overtime pay is the same- payment at 1.5 times your regular rate for the overtime hours.
The main difference is in the remedies available to you for violation. If you are entitled to overtime under federal law, but not Massachusetts, you can only recover for two years (unless you can show the violation was willful), and the unpaid wages are subject to doubling by the court.
In contrast, if you are entitled to overtime under Massachusetts law, you can recover for up to three years of unpaid overtime, and the damages are required to be tripled if you are successful in your claim.
There are a handful of jobs that are still exempt under Massachusetts law but subject to the FLSA. If you are in one of these jobs and owed overtime, you may be limited to the FLSA remedies. The most common examples are:
Employees in gas stations
Hospital or assisted living facility employees
Employees of non-profit schools or colleges
Learn more here about the differences between Massachusetts and FLSA exemptions.
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