Having origins in the 1600s, Massachusetts’ “Blue Laws” were once a strict set of legal guidelines for moral behavior on Sundays, formed as a way to increase Church attendance by restricting certain activities. Nowadays, the Massachusetts “Blue Laws” are a complex set of laws that control which retail and non-retail businesses may legally operate on Sundays and some legal holidays, and some businesses are required to pay extra compensation, known as “premium pay”, to its workers on those days. There are special rules for factories, mills and liquor stores. There is a lengthy list of 55 businesses that are exceptions to the Blue Laws, and any business within this list, such as pharmacies or restaurants, may allow work on Sundays and operate on legal holidays.
Retail businesses that employ more than 7 people, including the owner, are required to pay premium pay to their non-exempt employees. The rate of “premium pay” has decreased to 1.3x regular hourly rate as of January 1, 2020 and will continue to decrease every year until it is entirely eliminated by January 1, 2023. These retail employers must also give all their employees the right to refuse to work on Sundays, and cannot take action against an employee for refusing to work, even if the employee previously agreed to work on Sundays. For retail establishments other than liquor stores, holiday premium pay remains 1.5x the regular hourly rate and applies to 6 major holidays.
If you think your workplace fits this criteria, and you should be receiving extra Sunday pay, (like, for example, your local department store does), then you need to hurry and call our office today at 508.998.0800. All wage claims have a statute of limitations (a deadline) and MA is slowly phasing out many parts of the Blue Laws - so if you were entitled to money at one point, you will lose your ability to collect it as time goes on. The experienced employee rights lawyers at Phllips and Garcia can help you win your case and get you the money you deserve.