Massachusetts Overtime Laws

At work, your boss is in the driver's seat on most issues. You can be told when to work and what to do. You can even be required to work overtime or risk losing your job. What's not typically up to your boss is your right to overtime pay. In Massachusetts, most employees are entitled to at least 1.5 times their regular rate for any hours worked beyond 40 in a week. Overtime laws can be confusing and even the most well-intentioned bosses can get it wrong sometimes. Take a moment to review Massachusetts overtime laws to make sure you're being fully compensated at work.

Massachusetts Overtime Law Summary

State and Federal Statutes
Massachusetts Overtime Rules
  • State/Federal Overtime pay rate is 1.5 time the employees regular rate
  • Overtime is calculated based on the number of hours worked on a weekly basis (not daily)
  • State Blue Laws require some retail employees be paid 1.5 time their regular rate for working Sundays/holidays.
  • State law exempt from overtime pay employees at restaurant, motels, and hotels, as well as fisherman, agricultural workers and truck drivers.
Filing a Wage Complaint

Note: State laws are subject to change. It's important to verify the information you read about by conducting your own research or consulting with a Massachusetts attorney.

Massachusetts Overtime Laws

State and federal law both require overtime pay for employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek. Some jobs and workplaces are not required to pay overtime under Massachusetts law. However, an employee who does not have a right to overtime under state law may have a right to overtime under federal law. The federal overtime law is found in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). When state and federal laws conflict, the employee is entitled to the more generous benefits provided under the different parts of each law.

Do Restaurant and Hotel Workers Get Overtime?

Restaurants are among the businesses that received an exemption from the Massachusetts law requiring most employers to pay workers time-and-a-half pay for work beyond the standard 40-hour work week. The state's overtime law exempts more than a dozen types of workers, including farmhands, fishermen, truck drivers, and employees of motels and hotels.

Under the federal rules, restaurants with gross sales of $500,000 a year or more annually are required to pay overtime, along with any business that sells goods across state lines. Due to the interstate commerce provision, any restaurant employee who handles credit cards is entitled to overtime pay, regardless of the business' income.

Overtime Pay for Weekend, Holiday, or Night Work

Massachusetts Blue Laws require retailers employing seven or more people, including the owner, to pay employees who work on Sundays and some holidays at a rate not less than one and one-half times their regular rate. Although not technically overtime pay, compensation is at the same rate. Exempt from these pay provisions are bona fide executives, as well as administrative and professional employees.

Who is Exempt from Federal Overtime Laws?

Massachusetts law recognizes several exemptions that limit which employees can receive overtime pay. However, these same employees are frequently entitled to overtime pay under federal law. The FLSA covers employees of businesses with annual gross sales of $500,000 or more, as well as all hospitals, businesses providing medical or nursing care for residents, schools and public agencies.

For an employee to be considered exempt from federal overtime laws, their specific job duties and salary must meet all the requirements set by either the U.S. Department of Labor. The following types of employees are frequently exempt from federal overtime rules:

  • Executive
  • Administrator
  • Outside Salespeople
  • Employees employed as "learned professional" (CPA, lawyer, executive chef)
  • Taxi Drivers

Calculating Your Regular Rate of Pay

If you're paid by the hour, figuring out your regular rate of pay for calculating overtime is easy. It's your hourly wage multiplied by 1.5. For example, if you make $12 per hour, your overtime rate is $18 ($12 x 1.5). Where things get confusing is when you are paid commission or other incentives as part of your pay.

In Massachusetts, money paid as commissions, drawing accounts, bonuses, or other incentive pay based on sales or production are excluded in computing the regular rate and the overtime rate of compensation. However, under the FLSA these incentives are used to calculate the regular rate of pay. So if you are exempt from overtime pay under Massachusetts law, you should consult federal overtime law to determine whether you are entitled to overtime.

Denied Overtime Pay? Get a Free Claim Review

If your right to overtime is being denied, you may file a file a claim to enforce both your state and/or federal rights, depending on the facts of your case. An experienced Massachusetts attorney can help you recover lost wages and any damages caused by a denial of overtime pay. Receive a free claim review to start you out learning more about your rights under Massachusetts law.

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