You deserve to be paid fairly for all of the hours that you work—including overtime hours. Overtime hours are defined as any time worked in excess of 40 hours a week, regardless of the number of hours that you work per day.

The presumption is that employees should be paid one and one-half times the rate of their regular pay for any time worked over 40 hours in one work week unless they are considered exempt by law. Exempt Employees are NOT entitled to some labor law protections, like the right to receive overtime pay.

It is a common misconception that salaried employees are not entitled to overtime pay in Massachusetts. The determining factor is not whether or not you are paid hourly or you are salaried alone: your job type and job duties must be considered to determine whether you should be paid overtime when your hours exceed 40 hours in a given workweek.

Overtime Exemptions in Massachusetts

Massachusetts and federal laws provide some situations when an employer does not have to pay an employee overtime pay. These exemptions mainly fall under 3 categories of "bonafide" positions. (The term "bonafide" means legitimately, genuinely and without intention to deceive.)

  • Bonafide executives. Executives must make a minimum salary per week, set by federal regulation. Additionally, executives must have as a primary duty the management of the business or a department or subdivision of the business, they must regularly direct the work of two or more employees, and they must have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or their opinions must be given particular weight in the hiring, promotion, and firing process.
  • Bonafide professionals. Professionals must make a minimum salary per week, set by federal regulation. A professional position is one which requires knowledge of an advanced type in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized education or requiring invention, imagination, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor.
  • Bonafide administrative workers. Administrative workers must also make a minimum salary per week that is set by federal regulation. Additionally, an administrative worker's primary duty must be the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operation of the employer or the employer’s customers, and the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.

In addition to falling under 1 of these categories, the employee must also meet the criteria of 3 "tests" to be considered exempt from receiving overtime pay. The first test is a minimum salary level requirement, the 2nd test requires the employee is paid on a salary basis, instead of hourly, and finally, the employee must regularly perform the requirements of the "duties test". Each category - professional, administrative and executives - has its own "duties test" that must be met. 

Outside sales people, some computer professionals and certain highly compensated employees also are exempt from qualifying for overtime pay requirements. There are also several other specific job types that could be considered exempt under MA wage laws.

The laws governing exemptions from overtime pay can be confusing, which is why if you are questioning whether or not your employer is correctly withholding overtime payment from you, then you need to consult with Carlin Phillips, an experienced and intelligent overtime claims attorney today. It doesn't cost you anything to call us and find out if you are being paid legally, but there is a statute of limitations on overtime claims so act quickly!

 Massachusetts law allows you to recover for the overtime pay that you are owed and additional compensation - called damages - because your employer did not pay you according to federal and/or Massachusetts law. Your employer cannot take any retaliatory action against you for seeking the overtime pay you deserve without facing another lawsuit and more financial problems. 

Talk to Phillips Garcia Law about your payroll, paycheck or payment issues today. We work hard and smart for employees who have been wronged - and our lawyers have built their careers on speaking up for "the little guy" against big business. Call 508.998.0800 or leave a message via the contact box below to learn more about your rights! We do not collect any money upfront from our clients and we only get paid if and when we win your case.