Can Commissions be Paid Monthly or Quarterly?
Timely Payment of Commissions Under the Massachusetts Wage Act
The Wage Act explicitly applies to commissions "when the amount of such commissions, less allowable or authorized deductions, has been definitely determined and has become due and payable to such employee."
Cases interpreting this language have said that a commission is "due and payable" where all contingencies to earning the commission have been met and the commission is arithmetically determinable.
Historically, this issue has mostly come up in the context of payment of commissions at termination. Whether a system of paying commissions monthly or quarterly violates the weekly/bi-weekly requirements in the Wage Act did not get a lot of attention, because it was assumed that damages for that late payment- so long as it was in fact made- would only be the interest on the delayed sums.
Recently, however, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has held that late payment of wages still subjects an employer to triple damages, even if the wages are ultimately paid before a lawsuit is filed. That decision dealt with vacation pay at termination, but the same analysis could easily apply to chronically late payments of commissions.
If you are paid commissions on a monthly, quarterly, or even annual basis, you might want to consult an employment lawyer to determine whether this is a lawful practice or not.
Learn more here about damages for untimely payment of wages under the Massachusetts Wage Act.
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