Section 149:148 - Payment of wages; commissions; exemption by contract; persons deemed employers; provision for cashing check or draft; violation of statute

30 Analyses of this statute by attorneys

  1. Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Abrogates Employers’ Sole Defense to Automatic Treble Damages Liability for Late Final Wage Payments

    BakerHostetlerApril 7, 2022

    Employers Relied on Dobin v. CIOView for Almost 20 YearsMassachusetts has one of the strictest wage payment laws in the country – rivaling even the draconian remedies available to employees across the country in California. Under the Massachusetts Wage Act, employees are automatically entitled to triple damages, attorneys’ fees, and interest for even technical or unknowing violations of the state’s wage laws.In the context of the requirements for an employee’s final pay, Mass. G. L. c. 149, § 148 (Section 148) mandates that when an employee is involuntarily terminated, the employer must provide the employee’s final wages and the balance of any unused vacation time on the day the employee is terminated. Further, under Mass. G. L. c. 149, § 150 (Section 150), a “defendant shall not set up as a defence [sic] a payment of wages after the bringing of the complaint.”

  2. State Wage Penalties Available for Non-Payment of Federal Overtime

    Bello/Welsh LLPMartha ZackinNovember 2, 2015

    By Kenneth M. Bello and Louise ReohrA recent case highlights the need for Massachusetts’ employers to tread carefully around the so-called Wage Act, M.G.L. c. 149, § 148. Under this law, an employee who successfully makes out a claim for non-payment of wages “shall be” awarded automatic treble damages together with litigation costs and attorneys’ fees.

  3. A Percent-of-Profit Incentive Payment is Not “Wages” Under the Massachusetts Wage Act

    ArentFox SchiffFebruary 28, 2024

    une 30, 2020, the Globe terminated Mehra’s employment. When profits for 2020 were finalized in 2021, Mehra sought payment of his incentive compensation under the agreement. The Globe refused to pay Mehra the percent-of-profit incentive payment for 2020. Mehra commenced litigation, raising claims for violation of the MA Wage Act and breach of contract, among others.The Globe moved to dismiss the MA Wage Act claim, arguing that the incentive compensation is not a commission. Mehra, on the other hand, contended that because he was responsible for the Globe’s turn to profitability, including its increased revenue and reduced costs, the incentive compensation measured as a percentage of the Globe’s profits operated as a commission covered by the MA Wage Act.Analysis In general, other than commissions, contingent compensation is not covered by the MA Wage Act. Commissions are only considered wages once they have been “definitely determined and ha[ve] become due and payable to the employee.” M.G.L c. 149, § 148. Commissions are generally calculated as a percentage of the sales price of a good or service. It is well-established by Massachusetts courts that sharing in the overall profits of a business, without regard to personally generated revenue, does not qualify as a commission covered by the MA Wage Act.Mehra argued that his profit-sharing compensation was tied to revenues entirely dependent on his actions to augment revenues and cut costs, thus making it akin to a commission. This argument did not persuade the court. Instead, the court found that because the agreement did not entitle Mehra to a percentage of revenues he personally generated, but instead a percentage of the Globe’s overall profits, the compensation was not a commission deserving of protection under the MA Wage Act.Takeaways This case underscores and reinforces the long-standing distinction between profit-sharing payments and commissions. Profit-sharing payments may be recovered on a breach of contract claim, but failure t

  4. Massachusetts Highest Court Awards Treble Damages Under the Wage Act, Even After Employer Remedied Violation

    ArentFox SchiffLauren SchaeferApril 15, 2022

    Beth Reuter was terminated from her employment with the City of Methuen (the “City”). On her termination date, the City failed to pay Ms. Reuter for her accrued, unused vacation time, as required by M. G. L. c. 149, § 148 (the Massachusetts Wage Act). Instead, the City waited three weeks after her termination to make this payment.

  5. Massachusetts Highest Court Rules that Employers May Not Deduct Costs Of Damage to Company Property from Earned Wages

    Seyfarth Shaw LLPDaniel KleinJanuary 27, 2011

    Authored by Daniel KleinOn January 25, 2011, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed a decision by the Division of Administrative Law Appeals (DALA) upholding a citation by the Attorney General’s Office against Michael Camara and his company, ABC Disposal, Inc., a recycling and waste hauling company, for illegally deducting from employees’ wages, in violation of the Massachusetts Wage Act, M.G.L. c. 149, § 148. In making this decision, the SJC has validated the Attorney General’s strict interpretation of the state’s Wage Act, making it more difficult for employers to deduct from wages costs attributable to an employee’s fault or negligence, even where the employee has authorized the deduction.

  6. Terminating Employees? Ignoring State And Local Wage Laws Can Cost You

    DarrowEverett LLPJuly 16, 2024

    states include accrued vacation, non-discretionary bonuses, tips, and/or commissions in their definition of “wages” and therefore these types of compensation must be included in any final paycheck. For example, in Colorado, earned vacation pay is considered wages under state law and therefore is required to be paid out at the time of termination, but unused sick leave is not. By contrast, in Delaware, compensation for wage “supplements” (like earned vacation or expense reimbursements) are not considered wages and payment of such supplements is therefore governed by the agreement of the parties and a written policy requiring such payment.Penalties for Failure to Timely Pay Final WagesPenalties for failing to timely pay a terminated employee can be very steep. In Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Wage Act mandates that employers pay employees who are involuntarily discharged from employment on the date of termination and that an employee receive actual tender on the date of termination. M.G.L. c. 149, § 148. An employer who fails to do so is liable for mandatory treble damages and mandatory reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. M.G.L. c. 149, § 150. Even the most well-intentioned employers are subject to these mandatory penalties.For example, if a business owes an employee $3,000 upon termination, failure to provide the employee with actual tender of funds on the date of termination means the business now owes the employee $9,000 the day after termination. If the employer pays the employee $3,000 the day following termination, the employee still has a cause of action under the Wage Act for payment of the remaining $6,000 in damages owed. And if the employee hires an attorney to file a lawsuit to assist in the collection of these wages and the employee prevails, the business will be on the hook for the employee’s reasonable attorney’s fees and costs (which often amount to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars).Some states even mandate criminal penalties and fines for failing to timely

  7. Silicon Valley Bank Collapse: Implications for Employers

    K&L Gates LLPErinn RigneyMarch 14, 2023

    lements in the amount of $5,000 or less; or (2) Class A misdemeanor for unpaid wages, final compensation or wage supplements in the amount of more than $5,000.Employers who have been ordered to pay wages, final compensation, or wage supplements due to employees must pay a $250 administrative fee to the Department of Labor if the amount ordered by the Department as wages owed is $3,000 or less; $500 if the amount ordered by the Department as wages owed is more than $3,000, but less than $10,000; and $1,000 if the amount ordered by the Department as wages owed is $10,000 or more. (820 ILCS 155/14).MassachusettsWeekly or bi-weekly (non-exempts) Within six days of the end of the pay period if employed for five or six days in a calendar week; orWithin seven days of the end of the pay period if employed seven days in a calendar week; orWithin seven days of the end of the pay period if employed less than five days.Exempt employees can be paid semi-monthly (or monthly at their election). (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 148)Late wages (even 1 day late) are subject to treble damages and attorneys' fees (plus interest) even if the employer pays the employee before the employee brings a claim. (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 150)NevadaWages that are earned before: The first day of the month must be paid no later than 8 a.m. on the 15th day of the month immediately after the one that the wages were earned in.The 16th day of the month must be paid no later than 8 a.m. on the last day of the same month.Employer and employee may agree to a different payment schedule.Employer must provide affected employees with at least seven days' written notice before changing the payday or place of payment. (Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 608.060, 608.070)Employers that violate the wage payment law are guilty of misdemeanors.Employees may bring a civil action against an employer and, are entitled to all remedies available under law or in equity appropriate to remedy the violation, including without limitation, back pay, damages, reinstat

  8. SJC Decision Precludes Employees’ Pursuit of Remedies under the Massachusetts Wage Act for Untimely Payment of Overtime Wages Due Solely Pursuant to the FLSA

    Morgan, Brown & Joy, LLPJaclyn L. KawkaApril 26, 2022

    In Devaney v. Zucchini Gold, LLC, the plaintiffs were restaurant workers routinely working in excess of 40 hours per week whose employer failed to pay the workers overtime wages required by the FLSA. SJC-13176 (Wendlandt, J. April 14, 2022).The plaintiffs brought suit against their employer in September 2015 alleging violations of the FLSA for failure to pay overtime wages, violations of the Massachusetts Wage Act (M.G.L. c. 149, § 148) for failure to pay the FLSA overtime wages in a timely manner, and violations of the Federal and State minimum wage laws. Because the state overtime law, M.G.L. c. 151, § 1A, specifically exempts restaurant workers like the plaintiffs, they did not pursue a claim under that state law provision.

  9. Massachusetts SJC Rules that Employers are Strictly Liable for Treble Damages for Delayed Wage Payments

    WilmerHaleApril 12, 2022

    BackgroundThe Massachusetts Wage Act, M.G.L. c. 149, § 148 (the Wage Act), requires that employers pay terminated employees the full amount of owed wages on the day of discharge. Employees who voluntarily resign from employment may be paid on the next regular payday.

  10. Massachusetts High Court Expands Employer Liability for Late Payment of Wages

    LittlerApril 7, 2022

    Three weeks later, the City sent the plaintiff checks in full payment of that amount.One year later, the plaintiff’s counsel sent the City a letter asserting that the City had violated the Massachusetts Payment of Wages Law, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 148, by not paying the plaintiff the full amount of her accrued, unused vacation on the date of termination. The Payment of Wages Law provides that an employee who is terminated “shall be paid in full on the day of his discharge.”