- Frequency of wage payments
- Manner of wage payments
- Direct deposit
- Payment upon separation from employment
- Wage in dispute
- Deductions from wages
- Uniforms, tools, and other equipment necessary for employment
- Pre-hire medical, physical, or drug tests
- Notice of wage reduction
- Statement of wages (pay stubs)
- Record keeping requirements
- Notice requirements
Frequency of Wage Payments
An employer must pay wages weekly or every two (2) weeks. An employer must pay employees who work five (5) or six (6) days in a calendar week within six (6) days of the end of the pay period. An employer must pay employees who work seven (7) days in a calendar week within seven (7) days of the end of the pay period. An employer must pay employees who work fewer than five (5) days in a calendar week within seven (7) days of the end of the pay period. An employer may pay employees engaged in a bona fide executive, administrative or professional capacity as determined by the attorney general weekly, every two (2) weeks or twice per month, however, such employees can elect at their own option to be paid monthly. MA Statute 149-148
Manner of Wage Payments
An employer may pay wages by cash and by check redeemable at face value without deduction. MA Statute 149-148
Massachusetts law appears to be silent regarding an employer’s ability to pay employee by direct deposit. Although it is likely employers may pay employees by direct deposit, the law does not indicate whether an employer can require an employee to be paid by direct deposit.
Massachusetts labor laws do not specifically address whether an employer may pay an employee their wages by payroll card.
Payment upon Separation from Employment
Employees who are fired, discharged, terminated, or laid off
When an employer discharges or lays off an employee, the employer must pay the employee all wages due on the day of the discharge, except in Boston where they must be paid as soon as the employer has complied with the laws requiring pay rolls, bills and accounts to be certified. MA Statute 149-148
Employees who quit or resign
When an employee quits, the employer must pay the employee all wages due by the next regular payday, or, if the employer does not have a regular payday, on the next Saturday. MA Statute 149-148
Employees who are suspended or resigns due to a labor dispute (strike)
Massachusetts does not have a law specifically addressing the payment of wages to an employee who leaves employment due to a labor dispute, however, to ensure compliance with known laws, an employer should pay employees who resign due to a labor dispute no later than the next regular payday, or, if the employer does not have a regular payday, on the next Saturday. MA Statute 149:148
Wages in Dispute
Massachusetts does not have any laws requiring an employer to pay an employee wages conceded to be due when involved in a wage dispute with the employee.
Deductions from Wages
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held in Camara v. Attorney General, 458 Mass. 756 (January 25, 2011), held that an employer could only make deductions from an employee’s wages where “there exists a clear and established debt owed to the employer by the employee.” The court determined that an employer could not deduct from an employee’s wages the cost of damages to a company truck caused by the employee. This decision likely means that an employer would not be able to make deductions from an employees wages for:
- cash shortages,
- inventory shortages,
- dishonored checks,
- dishonored credit cards,
- damages to the employer’s property in any form or
- damage to any merchandise purchased by a customer.
Uniforms, Tools, and Other Equipment Necessary for Employment
There is no law that prohibits an employer from requiring an employee to pay for a uniform. An employer may not require an employee to put a deposit down for a required uniform unless approved by the Mass. Department of Labor and Workforce Development. MA Reg. 454 CMR 27.05(4); Mass. Office of Labor and Workforce Uniform Deposit Waiver Application Policy. An employer may not require an employee to pay for the cost of the maintenance of uniforms requiring dry-cleaning, commercial laundering, or other special treatment if the cost reduces the employee’s effective wage rate below minimum wage. MA Reg. 454 CMR 27.05(4). This restriction does not apply to “wash and wear” uniforms. MA Reg. 454 CMR 27.05(4).
Pre-hire Medical, Physical, or Drug Tests
An employer who requests or requires an employee or applicant to undergo a medical examination by a physician designated by the employer, as a condition of employment, must reimburse the employee or applicant for the medical expenses requested or required. MA Statute 149-159B
Notice of Wage Reduction
Massachusetts does not have any laws addressing when or how an employer may reduce an employees wages or whether an employer must provide employees notice prior to instituting a wage reduction.
Statement of Wages (Pay Stub)
An employer must provide to an employee at the time of payment a record of all deductions taken from wages, including:
- social security,
- unemployment compensation benefits,
- vacation or health and welfare funds,
- state taxes,
- federal taxes,
- dues check-off, and
- contributions to credit unions.
Record Keeping Requirements
An employer must keep for two years a true and accurate record of:
- the name, address and occupation of each employee,
- the amount paid each pay period to each employee, and
- the hours worked each day and each week by each employee
An employer must notify new employees in writing at the time of the first payment of his wages about the nature of any deduction or contribution. MA Statute 149-150A