Every Massachusetts employee is entitled to workplace rights that are protected under state labor laws.
The Office of the Attorney General (AGO) and the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) advocate for Massachusetts worker rights through the following practices and programs:
Child Labor/ Youth Employment
Because young workers tend to suffer injuries at much higher rates than adults, Massachusetts youth employment and child labor laws protect young workers and restrict the work of minors with respect to three main areas:
All minors under the age of 18 years old must apply for a youth permit to work in Massachusetts.
Public Construction Work
Massachusetts Prevailing Wage laws require that employees working on public projects be paid a minimum hourly rate set by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) and the Division of Occupational Safety. This hourly rate ensures that employees are being fairly paid for their trade and services across the state, instead of rates fluctuating between cities and towns.
The Massachusetts minimum wage is currently $8.00 per hour. The Minimum Wage law applies to all employees except those being rehabilitated or trained in charitable, educational, or religious institutions. In addition, the law does not apply to members of religious orders, agricultural, floricultural, and horticultural workers.
When working more than 40 hours per week, most hourly and salaried employees must be paid overtime, or one and one-half times their regular hourly rate.
To ensure employees working off tips receive minimum wage, they must be paid a minimum of $2.63 per hour and ensure that with tips, the employee receives at least $8.00 per hour. If the total hourly rate for the employee, including tips, does not equal $8.00, then the employer must make up the difference.
Working on Sundays and Holidays
The Massachusetts Blue Laws place restrictions on Sunday and holiday openings for businesses. As a general rule, if an employer has more than seven employees, then any non-exempt workers must receive Sunday Premium Pay, or at least one and one-half times their regular hourly rate. Premium Pay also applies to specific holidays.
By law, employees must receive 30-minute meal breaks after six hours of work. Employees are paid for all hours worked, not including their 30-minute meal break.
Employers who choose to provide paid vacation to their employees must treat those payments like regular wages under Massachusetts General Law. Withholding vacation payments is the equivalent of withholding wages and, as such, is illegal. Employees must be paid for all earned vacation upon termination of employment.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) office provides a Spanish language page with valuable labor-related information to keep workers safe while on the job.
Know your rights and responsibilities as an employee! For questions or concerns, tweet @MassGov.
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