Overview of the Massachusetts Wage Act

| Jul 13, 2017 | Employment Law |

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Massachusetts has enacted a statute requiring the regular payment of wages under what is commonly referred to as the “Wage Act.” The Wage Act encompasses a wide-range of disputes across the economic spectrum, from minimum wage and overtime disputes involving lower wage earners, to the misclassifications of employees as independent contractors, to certain incentive compensation for high-level executives.

The penalties for violations of the Wage Act are stiff, and include mandatory treble damages and the payment of attorneys’ fees.

The Wage Act is enforced by the Massachusetts Attorney General, but also provides a private right of action for aggrieved employees. The Wage Act is a strict liability statute. Even if unintentional, or through a mutual arrangement between an employer and employee (i.e., a deferral of wages), an employer who fails to timely pay wages will be subject to mandatory treble damages and attorneys’ fees.

At the time of termination, an employer must pay all unpaid wages earned to date, which includes the payment of any accrued, but unused vacation time (where the employer offers paid vacation time to employees).

Certain agents and officers of a company are personally liable for violations of the Wage Act. The Wage Act also prohibits retaliation against employees who have exercised their rights under the statute.

If you think you might have an unpaid wage or overtime claim in Massachusetts, you can call us during normal business hours at 978-844-4095, or send us an email anytime, for a FREE case evaluation.

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