What are My Wages Exactly?

Wages are “money paid or owed for work performed.” That includes your hourly rate, salary and commissions. It also includes your holiday and vacation pay, as well as time-and-a-half for overtime work. So, when you leave your company, make sure you receive all your wages.

I Just Left My Job. When Do I Get My Money?

If you voluntarily leave your job, then you must be paid in full at the end of your pay period. If you’re fired, your employer must pay you in full on your last day of work.

What Can I Do if I’m Owed Wages?

You’ve got power. In most cases after Gordon Law Group, LLP files a complaint with the Attorney General’s office, we can file a civil lawsuit and recover three times the wages your employer owes you. We can also recover the cost of litigation and attorney’s fees.

I Don’t Have a Written Contract. Can I Still Recover Wages?

Yes. A verbal contract between an employer and employee is a valid contract. It is important to know what you said to each other and how you were treated over time.

How Often Must My Employer Pay Me?

If you’re an hourly employee, you must be paid weekly or bi-weekly. If you’re a salaried/exempt employee, you can get paid weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly or monthly. If you’re terminated, you must be paid in full on your last day of work. If you voluntarily leave your job, you must be paid in full at the end of your pay period.

My Boss Says I’m an Independent Contractor, but I Work Full Time for Him. Am I an Independent Contractor or Am I Really an Employee?

It’s not unusual for employers to claim employees as independent contractors. After all, it’s cheaper for them – they pay lower taxes and benefits. But whether you are an employee or an independent contractor is a question of law. Massachusetts law presumes workers are employees. Basically, if your employer controls and directs the services you perform, you’re an employee. You can be an employee even if your employer gives you a 1099 form instead of a W-2 form.

Is My Employer Required to Give Me Meal Time?

Yes. You’re entitled to at least 30 minutes for a meal if you work more than 6 hours during a calendar day. During meal time you must be free of all your duties, and allowed to leave the premises. If you voluntarily waive your right to a meal, you must be paid for the working time.

My Boss Schedules Me to Work at Least 3 Hours in a Day Then Sends Me Home Early, How Much Should I Get Paid?

You should be paid for “reporting time,” which is at least 3 hours of work on any day you were scheduled for at least 3 hours of work and showed up for it.

Can My Boss Use “Compensatory Time” (Also Known as Comp Time) Instead of Giving Me Overtime Pay?

Each work week stands on its own. Your employer may not avoid paying you overtime in one work week by giving “comp time” during another work week.

However, there is no daily overtime pay requirement. So, your employer may grant you comp time for a given day, instead of overtime pay, during an individual work week as long as the total number of hours worked for that week does not exceed forty without time-and-a-half pay.

What About Commissions?

Commissions are considered wages when they are definitely determined and due and payable, with some exceptions made by courts on a case-by-case basis, such as for episodic commissions or those that are part of a separate voluntary plan. When they’re not wages, courts typically treat commissions as contract claims.

What About Severance Pay?

It depends on the court. Some say severance is a wage, because the term “wages” includes dismissal pay. Others say severance is not a wage, because it is not “earned.” When they’re not wages, courts typically treat severance payments as a contract claim.

When Should I Get Paid for Travel Time?

Ordinary travel to and from work is not considered working time. But you should receive pay for travel during the work day. You also may be entitled to pay for any additional commuting time necessary to get to alternate work sites.

How Do I Know if I’m Being Discriminated Against?

There are many different indicators of discrimination, all of which vary to different degrees of severity. These range from verbal discrimination to different wages and from embarrassment to firings. You can often tell that you are being discriminated against if you are put under sudden and intense scrutiny, are unfairly punished, or file a complaint that is not correctly followed up by human resources and/or management.

What is Title IX?

Title IX requires gender equality for boys and girls in every education program that receives federal funding. The law has been in place since 1972. To learn more visit titleix.info.

Who is protected by Title IX?

Title IX applies to everyone who is involved in federally funded education. There are 10 key areas of Title IX: access to higher education, athletics, career education, education for pregnant and parenting students, employment, learning environment, math and science, sexual harassment, standardized testing, and technology. In all ten areas, men and women are afforded equal rights.

What is “Prevailing Wage”?

Prevailing wages are the hourly rates set for certain classifications of work on construction projects and several other types of public work. The rates may vary from project to project. Once a project is completed, each contractor, subcontractor or public body is required to submit a Statement of Compliance that affirms prevailing wage rates were paid.

Can My Boss Deduct Money From My Wages?

No deductions may be made from minimum wage, except those allowed for certain meals and lodging. A uniform deposit may be permitted in certain circumstances.

What is the Minimum Wage?

In Massachusetts, the minimum hourly wage is $13.50, as of January 1, 2021, increasing to $15.00 by January 2023. However, it is $5.55 per hour for tipped employees who earn at least $20.00 in tips per month, increasing to $6.75 per hour by January 2023.

What is the Overtime Rate?

One and one-half times the regular hourly rate for all work over 40 hours, unless you are an “exempt” employee.

My Boss Requires Me to Be On-Site Before and After My Shift, but Only Pays Me for the Actual Duty Shift. Shouldn’t I Get Paid for the Extra Time?

Yes. You must be compensated for all time you’re required to be onsite or on duty. This includes the time spent at roll-calls, morning meetings and walking to work stations, or from the place where you put on required protective clothing.

Shouldn’t I Get Overtime Premiums for Working on Sundays and Holidays?

Yes. Under the Blue Laws, non-exempt employees who work in retail businesses with more than 7 employees must be paid time and one-half for all work on Sundays and certain holidays.

If I Bring a Claim Against My Employer, Can They Fire Me?

Employers may not retaliate against you for asserting your rights under the Wage Act. MA law states that, “No employee shall be penalized by an employer in any way as a result of any action on the part of an employee to seek his or her rights under the wages and hours provisions of this chapter.” Cases have determined that this includes internal complaints.

Is There Criminal Liability for Failure to Pay Wages?

Yes. The Attorney General may seek a criminal complaint or indictment for failure to pay wages. Unintentional failures are subject to civil penalties of up to $7,500 for the first offense. Intentional failures are subject to civil penalties of up to $25,000 for the first offense and 1 year of prison time. Subsequent fines can increase to $50,000 and 2 years of imprisonment.

How Long Must My Employer Keep Records?

At least 2 years. MA law requires those records to contain name, address, occupation, as well as amount of wages paid and hours worked. Employers are also required to give you access to the records.

How Long Do I Have to Bring a Claim Against My Employer?

You have 3 years to recover unpaid regular wages and overtime. That statute of limitations begins to run the day you were supposed to be paid and will be stopped on the day you file a lawsuit.

How Much Will It Cost to Represent Me?

Gordon Law Group, LLP typically works on a contingency fee basis – which means we don’t get paid any attorney’s fees unless there is a recovery for you. However, you are responsible for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred by a lawsuit. We at the Gordon Law Group, LLP have a long and successful track record representing employees. We’ll meet with you, discuss your case, coordinate a strategy and file a complaint. We’ll work hard to get your money as quickly as possible.

How Do I Become a Client?

If you would like to speak to Gordon Law LLP about becoming a client, please call us at (800) 403-7755 to set up an initial consultation, free of charge. We can also be reached via email by filling out our email contact form.

What Should I Do if I’m Being Discriminated Against?

The most important thing to do is keep a record of the discrimination. Make a note of the time, date, location and nature of the offense. After that, approach management or human resources with your problem. If they can’t or won’t rectify the issue, then you should contact an attorney. It is important to contact a firm with experience in employment law, such as ours, because they will bring the necessary experience to fight on your behalf.

What are My Rights if I’m a Victim of Discrimination?

There are several federal laws in place to protect you from discrimination. These include:

• Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
• The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
• American with Disabilities Act (ADA)
• Equal Pay Act
• The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

There are state laws too. Be sure to contact an experienced lawyer if you feel the issue is getting out of hand and if your employer is violating one of these laws. You can contact us here today.

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