Many employers try to avoid paying their employees overtime. In Massachusetts, if you work more than 40 hours in a week, you are entitled to overtime. This general rule applies unless federal or Massachusetts law provides an exception. For example, some executives, professionals, and seasonal workers are not eligible for overtime pay in Massachusetts.
7 Tricks Employers Use to Get Around Paying You Overtime
While overtime pay is required by law, some employers try to avoid paying it by:
- Paying you a salary. While your employer may choose to pay you a salary rather than hourly wages, a salary doesn’t mean they can avoid paying you overtime that you’ve earned. It’s your job duties,not how you are paid, that determine overtime eligibility.
- Wrongfully claiming that you’re exempt from overtime. Some workers in specific industries—as well as executives, professionals, and administrative workers — may not be eligible for overtime pay. Your employer may tell you that you’re exempt from overtime when, in reality, you are an employee who is legally entitled to overtime pay.
- Mandating that employees may not work more than 40 hours a week. Some employers have employees sign contracts which state they will not be paid overtime. These contracts and rules violate the Massachusetts Wage Law. If you work more than 40 hours in a week, you are entitled to be paid overtime.
- Paying your regular rate for overtime hours. Some employers pay your regular rate — instead of time and a half — for the overtime hours that you work. Your paycheck will be larger because you worked more hours, and employees who don’t fully understand their rights may accept the money, not realizing this practice is illegal.
- Paying your overtime in a separate check or deposit. Your employer may try to confuse the issue by paying overtime at your regular rate, issuing a separate check or deposit for the overtime hours. Overtime hours should be paid at time and a half regardless of whether they are paid on a separate check or combined with your regular pay.
- Not counting off-site work hours. If you, with the knowledge and permission of your employer, bring work home, the time you spend working offsite should be counted in your weekly hours.
- Offering “comp time” for any time worked beyond 40 hours. Instead of paying you time and a half as the law requires, an employer may offer you time off in the future. This violates the Massachusetts overtime law.
All of these tricks are used to get around the Wage Act's overtime pay provisions.
If you are experiencing tricky overtime procedures at your current or former workplace, then you need to contact us today. There is a time limit (aka statute of limitations) on overtime claims (2 years) so you need to act fast.
We do not charge our clients any money upfront - and we only get paid when we win. We have handled many wage and hour claims - and Attorney Phillips has built his career on representing "the little guy" against big, powerful companies and institutions. Your employer cannot retaliate against you for pursuing a wage claim and you deserve to be paid fairly and legally. Reach out to discuss your situation today. Contact us via the contact box on our website or call our Dartmouth office at 508.998.0800.