A previous post on this blog offered an overview of some basic Massachusetts wage and hour laws, including laws about minimum wage. It is indeed important for employers in the construction industry to be aware of these laws, as not following them can land an employer in legal hot water.
Likewise, employers need to be familiar with the regulations that state agencies, specifically the Department of Labor Standards, issue in order to flesh out these laws and give them their intended effect. Unless legally invalidated, these regulations have the force of law, and a company can face liability for violating them.
A good example of a state regulation is the requirement that if an employee is expected to report to a job site for at least three hours of scheduled work, then he or she is entitled to at least three hours of pay at minimum wage, even if the employee gets sent home immediately for lack of work. As mentioned previously, so long as the system is set up correctly, an employer need not pay for on call time.
Another issue that may affect companies in the construction business is travel pay, since workers may have to move from site to site. While employers do not have to pay for an employee to commute from home to work, they will likely have to count other work-related travel time, say from site to site or even from home to an unusual work location, as compensable.
It is important for Massachusetts businesses to be aware of the wage and hour regulations that may apply to them just as it is important to understand the laws behind those regulations. Likewise, in the event of a dispute, understanding employment law from an employer's perspective, with the help of an experienced attorney, may protect a business's interests and reputation.