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.
Like other states, Massachusetts has minimum wage laws. Again like many other states, the minimum wage in this state is actually higher than what is required under federal law, at $12 an hour. The minimum wage will increase to $12.75 an hour in 2020.
Most employers in our state follow the appropriate wage and hour laws, but sometimes mistakes are made. According to the Massachusetts Attorney General, in 2018, 66 construction companies received citations for wage and hour violations. In total, the citations amounted to nearly $1.5 million paid in restitution and over $1.2 million paid in fines. These violations took place both in the private and public sector.
Not every work relationship in Massachusetts is an employee-employer relationship. Sometimes an employer chooses to work with independent contractors, rather than hire employees. Depending on the circumstances, working with an independent contractor can be less costly than hiring an employee, and independent contractors may have specialized knowledge and abilities that general employees of the business do not have.
Many workers in the service industry in Massachusetts, including servers in restaurants, earn tips as part of their job. However, the minimum wage laws that apply to tipped workers differ from the minimum wage laws that apply to non-tipped workers, with certain obligations being placed on employers of tipped workers. In either case, Massachusetts employers should be aware that the laws regarding the minimum wage are currently in flux.
There are authorized payroll deductions where money earned can be taken from a worker's paycheck. However, there are many unauthorized payroll deductions an employer could mistakenly make. Therefore, it is important for employers in Massachusetts to understand when they can make a deduction from a worker's paycheck without possibly subjecting themselves to a wage and hour claim brought by an employee.
Many employers in Massachusetts, especially those in the service industry, employ workers who earn tips. The possibility of good tips often makes these jobs attractive to workers. However, it is important for employers of tipped workers to understand what their obligations are regarding the minimum wage they must pay employees, so they do not violate federal wage and hour laws.
Most employers in Sudbury value their employees and want to ensure their employees are properly paid. They dutifully comply with federal and state wage and hour laws. For example, if an employee is owed overtime pay, the employer will ensure that employee is compensated for the extra time on the clock.
Issues such as increasing the minimum wage are dominating the news in Massachusetts and nationwide. With employees paying more attention to what they are being paid, wage and hour lawsuits are gaining steam in our nation. Therefore, it is more important than ever that employers take steps to keep such lawsuits from being filed in the first place.
Massachusetts law contains a series of laws regulating how and when hourly workers must be paid. As a small business owner, you are at risk of a lawsuit if one of your employees believes that their rights have been violated.