Wage and Hour Claims


Commonly referred to as “Wage and Hour Laws,” state governments and the federal government have established laws that establish a minimum set of standards for when, how, and how much employees must be paid.  It is imperative for employers to adhere to wage and hour laws, as the penalties can be significant, even if the violation is accidental, or not intentional.  Penalties can include fines, double or triple awards, in addition to awards of costs and attorney’s fees. Wage and hour laws can be complicated and detailed.  The requirements also vary depending upon the industry one is in.

Even though wage and hour laws are complex the responsibility is generally placed upon an employer to maintain the proper records and to uphold the law.  An employment attorney can review your current practices and assist you in creating a system that can help your company avoid litigation and penalties or assist you if you are already in litigation.

Wage and hour laws require employers to*:

  • Properly classify their employees;
  • Pay their employees, at a minimum, $9.00/hr., the state’s minimum wage;
  • Pay their employees overtime if they are not “exempt” employees;
  • Pay their employees regularly within certain time periods;
  • Provide their employees with certain information at the time of payment;
  • Specific record keeping of time their employees work, take breaks, are paid, etc.; and
  • Payment of wages at the time of discharge of employees.

*This list is not exhaustive

It is not enough to know the general requirements. For instance, retailers and other industries have additional restrictions of when they can or cannot make their employees work on holidays or for consecutive shifts.  Also, there is a new law that came into effect on April 1, 2015, that governs the pay and employment of domestic workers (i.e. nannies, house keepers, personal chefs, etc.) This can impact families who are generally unaware of employment laws.

Remember, wage and hour laws do not care if the employer made a mistake, error or accident in violating the law.  It also does not matter if you pay the wages at a later date, upon demand or litigation.  If you failed to pay your employee at the proper time you can still be on the hook for penalties, double or triple damages and attorney’s fees.

Contact a Massachusetts employment lawyer for review of your wage and hour practices.  Also, contact an employment lawyer to know your rights and obligations as an employee or employer regarding earned wages to assist in negotiation and/or litigation.

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