Why is the Massachusetts Wage Act Such a Source of Potentially High Liability Costs?
The “Weekly Wage Act” With Stiff Penalties regarding Earned but Unpaid Compensation Requires Careful Attention and Consultation.
The Massachusetts Weekly Wage Act has a number of complicated requirements and stiff penalties for non-compliance for payment of employee compensation and, in particular, should be of great concern if a business is mistakenly treating as independent contractors “those who should be classified as employees.” [link] The Act requires, with certain exceptions, that wages – broadly defined – be paid within a certain time of when they are earned, not necessarily weekly. The Wages Act also requires, among other things, that an employer pay in full the wages and vacation pay of any discharged employee on the day of discharge. According to the statute, the term 'wages' includes holiday or vacation payments as well as earned commissions then determined and due.
For violations of the state’s Wage and Hour Law, an employee may recover three times the unpaid compensation, attorneys' fees and costs, and the attorney general may assess civil penalties. Such claims will arise when an employee has been terminated with unpaid compensation due.