Massachusetts Overtime Laws
Steffans Legal Represents Employees In Overtime Cases in Pittsfield, North Adams, Springfield, Worcester, Lowell, Fall River, New Bedford, and Cape Cod
Under both the Massachusetts Wage Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees are presumed to be entitled to overtime unless they fall into narrow exemptions. Despite that rather simple concept, entitlement to overtime remains one of the most complicated areas of employment law. It’s also the one with the most potential value to employees.
Steffans Legal has considerable experience in representing individuals in overtime claims and has recovered sizable six-figure settlements for employees wrongfully denied overtime in Worcester, Springfield, Pittsfield, Lowell, New Bedford, and Fall River. The most commonly asked questions and misconceptions regarding overtime are answered and identified below. As always, feel free to schedule a consultation today.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Overtime
Am I entitled to overtime? That depends. The Massachusetts Wage Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act both presume that all employees are entitled to overtime. However, employees who are paid a certain salary (at least ($455/week) and perform certain duties are exempt from this presumption and not entitled to overtime.
Exemptions? What are those? These are parts of the Massachusetts Wage Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act that specifically list individuals who are not entitled to overtime (exempt employees). That list includes golf caddies, child actors, janitors, newsboys, certain truck drivers, seasonal employees, seamen, and hotel employees. State and federal law have different requirements, however, so just because you are exempt from overtime under state law does not mean you are exempt from overtime under federal law.
What are the most common exemptions? By far, the most common exemptions are known as the white-collar exemptions. This set of exemptions includes executive employees, administrative employees, learned professionals, and creative professionals. Nearly every dispute concerning overtime relates to one of these four exemptions. Learn more about white-collar exemptions here.
I’m paid a salary. That automatically means I don’t get overtime, right? No. Just being paid a salary does not automatically mean you are not entitled to overtime. You need to be paid a certain salary AND perform certain types of duties. This last part, known as the “duties test,” is frequently overlooked and missed by employers and employees alike.
Doesn’t my job title control whether I get overtime? No. Just calling someone a manager, supervisor, assistant manager, or team leader and paying them a salary does not mean they are not entitled to overtime. What matters is what their actual job duties are, not their job titles.
What are the most common overtime mistakes employers make? There are many mistakes made by employers in this area. The most common are: (1) improperly classifying an employee as exempt from overtime coverage, (2) calculating hours worked by pay period instead of workweek, (3) asking you to work before or after your shift without pay, (4) asking you to work over your lunch break, and (5) refusing to pay you overtime because you worked it without permission or authorization. If these sound familiar, you may have an overtime claim.
What are my damages if I win? Employees that successfully establish that they were misclassified and wrongfully denied overtime are entitled to the Massachusetts Wage Act’s comprehensive remedial scheme. That scheme includes compensation for attorneys’ fees, costs, interest, and a monetary payment equal to three times the amount you should have been paid in overtime.
Can You Help? Yes. Since 2006, Attorney Ben Steffans has practiced nothing but employment law, including overtime law. At Steffans Legal, we don’t dabble in it: We focus on it. Since 2012 we have recovered approximately $1,000,000 in unpaid overtime for employees in Pittsfield, North Adams, Springfield, Worcester, Lowell, Fall River, New Bedford, and the Cape.