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A recent Massachusetts Appeals Court case reaffirms two long-held principles under the Massachusetts wage laws: that 1) certain corporate officers may be held individually liable for Wage Act violations; and 2) where employers fail to comply with the legal obligations to maintain certain time-keeping records, they should not benefit from that in litigation. 

1. Individual Liability for Certain Off...

December 12, 2018

As of January 1, 2019, the Massachusetts minimum wage will go up, and it will continue to go up each year on January 1 in the following steps:

  • January 1, 2019  -- $12.00  

  • January 1, 2020  -- $12.75   

  • January 1, 2021  -- $13.50  

  • January 1, 2022  -- $14.25   

  • January 1, 2023  -- $15.00   

The service rate is also go...

January 6, 2017

As of January 1, 2017, the minimum wage in Massachusetts is $11.00 for most jobs. 

There are a few -- though only a few -- exceptions to this minimum wage. 

One exception many people know about is called the service rate, which pertains to wait staff, service employees, and/or service bartenders who make tips of more than $20 per month.

The service rate allows employers of these service employees to pay...

October 8, 2016

While washing the dishes this morning and listening to WGBH, I heard this story on wage theft and the work of the Attorney General's Fair Labor Division, where, until 2014, I used to work: 

According to Cindy Mark, Chief of the AG's Fair Labor Division, there are just too many cases of wage theft for the Attorney General’s office to process.

“Every year, the Attorney General’s office gets over 6,000 com...

September 8, 2016

A Cambridge-based au pair agency and a host family sued Attorney General Maura Healey last week to stop the application of the Massachusetts Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and the supporting regulations to au pair host families.

According to their civil complaint, Cultural Care Au Pair sued because the Domestic Workers law and regulations will increase the amount host families are required to pay...

August 11, 2016

In the past few weeks, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) has updated two of its posters.

The first pertains to federal wage and hour requirements regarding the minimum wage, overtime, breaks for nursing mothers, and tipped employees

The second pertains to Employee Polygraph Protection Act, which bans most private employers from using lie detector tests at either the hiring stage or during the cours...

August 1, 2016

A recent story from the LA Times on illegal wage payment practices begins by setting out the following scenario:

After a week of 10-hour days folding and packaging clothing, Jesus Francisco Moreno walked out of the factory in downtown Los Angeles on a recent Monday afternoon to collect his $450 in wages. Holding a personal check, with no required deductions, he went to a white, unmarked van parked near...

July 19, 2016

The Massachusetts Attorney General's Office enforces the wage and hour laws, including the Massachusetts Tips Law. I used to work there and enforce those laws. (Individuals can also file their own private cases.) One of my 2014 cases involved a lot of these same issues. In the 2014 case:

  • Wait staff were required to pay from their tips the full meal costs of customers who left without payi...

July 15, 2016

A New York Times editorial today highlights a sadly common issue among service workers -- "unpaid overtime, misrecording of timecards to reduce pay, failure to pay the minimum wage and failure to pay wages owed to employees who quit or were fired." This case involves a franchise of McDonald's in California. A federal district court judge certified the class action, meaning the employees could continue...

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