Wages and Overtime

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Frequently Asked Questions about Wage, Hour and Overtime Claims in Massachusetts Answered by an Amesbury Wage and Hour Lawyer

Call (978) 388-1100 to talk to an Amesbury wage and hour lawyer today!

How many hours do you need to work to get overtime in Massachusetts?

“Non-exempt” employees – meaning employees who are not exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and are thus eligible for overtime – must be paid overtime for any time worked in excess of 40 hours in a week.

What if I work more than eight hours in a day in Massachusetts?

The Massachusetts and federal wage and hour laws generally do not require employers to pay overtime to employees who work more than eight hours in a day, as long as the total is equal to or less than 40. Overtime is triggered under the law when employees work more than 40 hours in a week. An employer may choose to pay overtime after eight hours worked in a day, but it is generally not required to do so.

I regularly work more than 40 hours in a week and I don’t get paid overtime. Is this a problem?

This depends on whether your job is “exempt” or “non-exempt” from the overtime provisions of the FLSA. If you are “non-exempt,” then you are entitled to overtime. Whether you are exempt of non-exempt depends on the nature of your job (i.e. your specific job duties). Employers must classify employees in accordance with the legal requirements for different types of jobs. Employers who don’t follow these requirements are at risk of liability for misclassification.  This can be a highly technical analysis and should not be undertaken without an attorney.

My boss never lets me take a meal break. She says that I should quickly grab a sandwich and work through my lunch. Is this a problem?

If your shift lasts longer than six hours, the answer is yes (with limited exceptions). Massachusetts law generally requires an employer to provide an employee with a 30-minute meal break after more than six hours of work. The meal break does not need to be paid. An employee may voluntarily waive the meal break, but that decision must be truly voluntary (i.e. the employer may not coerce the employee into making this choice). Also, the employer must pay the employee when the employee works during the meal break or when the employer requires the employee to remain on the premises.

What is the minimum wage in Massachusetts?

As of 2014

  • $8.00 per hour ($2.63 per hour for tipped employees)


  • Effective January 1, 2015: $9.00 per hour ($3.00 per hour for tipped employees)
  • Effective January 1, 2016: $10.00 per hour ($3.35 per hour for tipped employees)
  • Effective January 1, 2017: $11.00 per hour ($3.75 per hour for tipped employees)

What is the time limit to file a wage and hour complaint?

It depends on the type of wage and hour claim. Under Massachusetts law, the statute of limitations is three years, except for claims regarding overtime and the minimum wage, which have a statute of limitations of two years. Most state wage and hour claims must be brought to the Massachusetts Attorney General before being filed in court. Individuals may file in court at least 90 days after the complaint to the Mass. Attorney General (individuals may seek a waiver of this requirement) and within the statutes of limitations noted above. Under federal law, the statute of limitations of two years, except for willful violations, where there is a three-year statute of limitations.

Find out Your Rights as a Improperly Paid Person under Massachusetts and Federal Law from Our Wage and Hour lawyer in Amesbury, Hudson, or Revere

In our Amesbury MA office our employment lawyer, Attorney Santino is ready to meet with future clients from Amesbury, Georgetown, Merrimac, Newburyport, Haverhill, Lawrence, Rowley and all the other communities of the Merrimac Valley and the North Shore.

From our Hudson MA office, Attorney Santino serves the Metro West area including: Berlin, Bolton, Clinton, Hudson, Marlborough, Northborough, Sudbury, Stow, and Westboro.

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Take action today! Call us at 978-388-1100 for a free consultation. We can arrange after-hours appointments or meet clients off-site when necessary.  We are determined to provide attorney access to  all of our clients.

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