Below is a comprehensive outline of the employment laws in the state of Massachusetts -
Minimum Wage in Massachusetts
The current minimum wage in the state of Massachusetts is $11.00.
Over the next four years, Massachusetts’ minimum wage will increase as follows:
January 1, 2020: $12.75
January 1, 2021: $13.50
January 1, 2022: $14.25
January 1, 2023: $15.00
The minimum wage laws in Massachusetts require that the state’s minimum wage remains at least fifty cents higher than the federal minimum wage rate set as per the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Massachusetts’ employers must also comply with the federal minimum wage laws, which currently sets the federal minimum wage at $7.25.
If an employer chooses to pay minimum wage to the employees the minimum wage rate, the employer must pay his employees by the provisions of the minimum wage law, either federal or state, the higher of the two. In most cases in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts minimum wage rate will apply, as it usually guarantees a higher wage rate for employees than what the federal law prescribes.
Overtime Wages in Massachusetts
Massachusetts employment laws require employers to pay their employees for work performed overtime at a rate of 1½ times their regular work rate, if they work time is 40 hours or more in a week unless otherwise exempted.
Blue Laws in Massachusetts
Massachusetts maintains certain employment laws, known as Blue Laws. These laws prohibit an employer from making his employees work on Sundays and some state/national holidays. Also, in cases where employers are allowed to make their employees on Sundays and holidays, they may be required to pay those employees extra, at a rate of 1½ times their regular wage rate.
Meals and Breaks in Massachusetts
Massachusetts labor laws prescribe that employers cannot make their employees work for more than six hours in a day without providing them with a 30-minute break, except in the situations given below. However, the break period can go unpaid if -
(1) the employee is free from all duties, and
(2) the employee is free to leave the workplace during the break.
An employer must compensate an employee at least the minimum wage rate for the 30-minute break if the employee has voluntarily agreed to forgo the break period by –
(1) working through his break, or
(2) remaining on the premises during the break even though no work was done, at the request of the employer.
Leaves in Massachusetts
In the state of Massachusetts, an employer is not required to provide his employees with vacation leaves, either paid or unpaid. But if an employer chooses to provide vacation leaves, it must be by the terms of the internally established policy or the employment contract.
Massachusetts employment laws require employers to provide a certain amount of sick leaves to employees. An employer in Massachusetts may also be required to provide an employee unpaid sick leave by the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act and other federal laws.
Massachusetts has specific laws that govern holiday leave. The law differentiates between manufacturers, retailers, and non-retailers.
The state provides a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of Massachusetts governing holiday leaves for public employers and employees.
Jury Duty Leave
An employer must pay regular employees their regular wages for the first three days, or part thereof, of juror service. Each self-employed juror is responsible for compensating himself for the first three days, or part thereof, of juror service.
Massachusetts laws prohibit employers from making any employee that works in a manufacturing, mechanical, or mercantile establishment to work within the first two hours after the polls open. The employee must request his employer for the leave beforehand to be eligible for voting leave.