In light of a recent University of Massachusetts study conducted on labor and employment laws in the restaurant industry, the following are noteworthy reminders for employers:

  • Under Massachusetts Law, employers may pay tipped workers $3.35 per hour, but are required to pay the difference if a worker’s tips do not bring them to the minimum wage of $10.00 per hour. This presents a challenge for employers because it is difficult to track.
  • Employers in Massachusetts are subject to both state and federal overtime laws, which require that non-exempt employees receive overtime pay for all hours worked over forty (40) hours in one week. State and federal regulations vary, so even if an employee is exempt from overtime under state law it is important to check if federal law would require overtime compensation.
  • As of July 1, 2015, Massachusetts law requires that all employers provide earned sick time. Employers with eleven (11) or more employees must provide earned sick time that is paid—employers with less than eleven (11) employees must provide earned sick time, but it may be unpaid. Employees accrue one (1) hour of sick time for every thirty (30) hours worked, up to a maximum of forty (40) hours of earned sick time per benefit year.
  • Child labor laws regulate the days, hours, and types of duties minors can perform. Requirements vary based on the age of the minor. For example, a 17-year-old may work longer hours and perform a wider array of duties than a 14-year-old.
  • Under the National Labor Relations Act, it is illegal for employers to prevent employees from discussing wages. This is true for both union and non-union workers.