Failure to Pay Wages
Employment law cases arise in a number of situations that occur in the workplace, including situations in which the employer fails to pay proper wages to one or more employees. Failure to pay an employee’s wages can occur in a number of circumstances including:
- Failure to pay minimum wage: All employers across the state and across the country are required to pay some sort of minimum wage to each of their employees. The minimum wage in Massachusetts is $8.00 per hour. This is higher than the federal minimum wage, which is only $7.25 per hour. For employees that are tipped, minimum wage is $2.63, though if the employee does not make $8.00 including the tips, the employer must make up the difference.
- Failure to pay tips: Many employees that work in restaurants or bars earn most of their wages based on tips. Employers can require that their employees pool their tips, but the tips cannot be distributed to management employees or business owners.
- Failure to pay overtime: Many salaried and hourly employees must be paid overtime for the hours worked over 40 hours per week. While some jobs, such as professional, executive, and administrative employees, are exempt from this requirement, all others must be paid time and a half during overtime.
- Failure to provide vacation: Some companies include paid vacation time for their employees. If your company does provide for paid vacation time, those payments must be treated just as any other wages would be treated. If an employer refuses to pay vacation wages, its treated as seriously and is illegal, just as failure to pay any other wages would be.
- Small necessities leave: In 1998, the Massachusetts legislature enacted a statue requiring that certain eligible employees must be allowed to take a small amount of small necessities leave. While this time is unpaid, an employer is required to allow those eligible employees to twenty-four hours of unpaid leave during a 12-month period.
- Meal breaks: Massachusetts law also requires that employees must receive a 30-minute break after they have been working for six hours. While an employee is free to give up, the employer must pay the employee for the time worked.
- Sundays and Holidays: Some employers must pay their employees more money on holidays and Sundays, which is written into certain Massachusetts blue laws. Though some Sunday restrictions are still present in current laws, most businesses are allowed to remain open on Sundays without a permit. A number of holidays, including Christmas and thanksgiving, are considered legal holidays under Massachusetts law. On those holidays, the law specifies which businesses are allowed to remain open and under what circumstances. Even if the businesses remain open, many employers are required to pay their employees overtime wages.
If you or someone you know has not been paid required wages, it is important to contact an experienced attorney to see whether or not you have a claim. At Altman & Altman LLP, we understand that each failure to pay wages claim is different, and will help guide you through the entire process. We offer friendly lawyers that will answer any questions you might have about your claim. A consultation with an attorney is free, and we are available 24 hours a day. To schedule your free consultation, contact Altman & Altman at 617.492.3000 or 800.481.6199 (toll free) or contact us online.