The WAGE Act for Employees

The Massachusetts WAGE Act Protects My Rights To Compensation

I. What is the WAGE Act?

The Massachusetts Weekly Wage Act, G.L. Ch. 149, Section 148, requires, with certain exceptions, that wages be paid at the latest within a week of when they are earned. It also requires, among other things, that an employer must pay, in full, the wages of any discharged employee on the day of discharge. According to the statute, the term 'wages' includes holiday or vacation payments due on the date of discharge as well as commissions finally determined and due.

For violations, you may recover three times the unpaid compensation, attorneys' fees and costs, and the attorney general may assess civil penalties. (See G.L. c. 151, Sect. 1B; G.L. c. 149, Sect. 27C)

Covered employees, certain types of compensation, and the definition of covered commission income are fact dependent and we have some guidance from the Massachusetts courts, although issues like what severance pay comes under the Wages act await higher court decisions.