Massachusetts Minimum Wage Requirements

February 9, 2023
Massachusetts Minimum Wage Requirements

When Massachusetts passed a law increasing minimum wage to $15 an hour, it was hailed by many advocates. Now, four and a half years later, the increase hasn’t really kept pace with inflation.

One of the biggest concerns for small business owners is that payroll increases can be a significant burden on their bottom line. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to keep your restaurant compliant with the minimum wage laws in Massachusetts.

1. What is the Massachusetts Minimum Wage?

The Massachusetts minimum wage is among the highest in the country at $15 an hour. That’s good news for workers, but it’s no match for rising inflation that has taken a toll on their disposable income.

But the new minimum won’t be enough to keep up with increases in health care, housing and food costs. In fact, it may even hurt workers because they’re no longer able to afford the basic necessities, said Raise Up Massachusetts Coalition President Cindy Rowe.

Massachusetts Minimum Wage Requirements

In her press release, Rowe cited data from the Economic Policy Institute that showed one dollar today buys less than it did when the state’s most recent minimum wage hike was signed into law.

That’s why Raise Up Massachusetts, a coalition of community groups and labor unions, is considering whether to pursue another increase, but she said the group hasn’t made any decisions yet. Ideally, she said, the new wage would be indexed to inflation, or tied to some other measure of cost-of-living, to help workers keep up with the costs of living.

2. What are the requirements?

There are a number of requirements for the minimum wage in Massachusetts. Generally, the minimum wage must be at least fifty (50) cents higher than the federal minimum wage set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The state’s minimum wage also applies to employees working on Sundays. Employers with more than seven employees must pay a premium rate of 1.1 times the regular rate for each worker working on Sundays.

For tipped workers, the minimum hourly wage is a little lower. However, their hourly wage plus tips must still equal the minimum hourly rate.

Similarly, employees who work more than 40 hours per week are entitled to overtime pay at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate of pay. In addition, tipped employees who receive a “service rate” are entitled to one and a half times the basic minimum wage.

Massachusetts Minimum Wage Requirements

3. How do I know if I’m paying my employees the minimum wage?

The minimum wage is set by the federal government and each state to protect workers from unfairly low pay. The federal minimum is $7.25 per hour, but many states and cities have higher or lower minimum wages.

Employers can also choose to pay employees at a salary or piece rate, rather than an hourly wage. This can be an effective way to cut costs, but it must meet the minimum wage requirements.

If you’re unsure whether your employees are paid at the minimum wage, it’s best to consult an experienced labor attorney.

Massachusetts also has a slightly different minimum wage for tipped employees (those who receive tips). Employees who are tipped must be paid at least the hourly rate plus their average tip amount.

4. How do I stay compliant?

It’s important to stay compliant with the minimum wage requirements in massachusetts. These laws are complex and require careful attention to detail.

The most common way to stay compliant is to make sure your employees are paid the correct hourly rate and not less than the legal minimum wage. It’s also essential to ensure that all employees are paid on time and get paid for any overtime they work.

In addition to the minimum wage, Massachusetts law requires that all employees be given a 30-minute unpaid meal break for every six hours worked. It also protects employees against discrimination because of pregnancy or a medical condition related to their pregnancy.

Employees also have the right to take one day off after working six days in a row. In addition, minors who are employed in a school or college dining room or dormitory receive 80% of the basic minimum wage. However, they may be subject to youth employment permits and limitations on their working hours.

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