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Wage Act Introduction

The Wage Act The Wage Act is one of the most significant statutes that protects the rights of employees (whether labelled an "independent contractor" or not). It requires employers to pay wages on time, pay overtime where applicable, and contains serious remedies where there are violations -- namely, potential triple damages and an award of attorney's fees. Because the remedies are so strict, there is also a short statute of limitations, or window of opportunity, during which you must bring your cause of action; delay will negatively impact your rights. So, call now for a FREE consultation with an Attorney who can evaluate your situation. Overtime Pay If you work more than forty (40) hours in any given week, you must be paid one and one half times your regular rate for every hour in excess of forty hours. Believe it or not, this rule applies whether you are paid on a per-job or piecework basis, and applies even if your employer attempts to call you an "independent contractor."  You may be entitled to overtime when adding on-call, waiting, or other off the clock time. If you drive a truck and are paid per gallon delivered, you may be entitled to overtime pay. The 1099 Form Many employers attempt to incorrectly classify workers as "independent contractors" in order to avoid the important safeguards of the Wage Act, and avoid paying unpaid overtime and wages. However, it is extremely difficult to be classified as an independent contractor here in Massachusetts. Even if you agree, in writing, to [...]


Massachusetts Overtime Exemptions

If you work in any of the following capacities, you may not be entitled to overtime under the state law; however, this determination can only be made after a Massachusetts employment attorney reviews the facts and circumstances of your case: as a janitor or caretaker of residential property as a golf caddy, newsboy or child actor or performer. as a bona fide executive, or administrative or professional person or qualified trainee for such position earning more than eighty dollars per week. as an outside salesman or outside buyer. as a learner, apprentice or handicapped person under a special license as provided in section nine. as a fisherman or as a person employed in the catching or taking of any kind of fish, shellfish or other aquatic forms of animal and vegetable life. as a switchboard operator in a public telephone exchange. as a driver or helper on a truck with respect to whom the Interstate Commerce Commission has power to establish qualifications and maximum hours of service pursuant to the provisions of section two hundred and four of the motor carrier act of nineteen hundred and thirty-five, or as employee of an employer subject to the provisions of Part 1 of the Interstate Commerce Act or subject to title II of the Railway Labor Act. in a seasonal business. as a seaman. by an employer licensed and regulated pursuant to chapter one hundred and fifty-nine A. in a hotel, motel, motor court or like establishment. in a gasoline station. in a restaurant. as a garageman, which term shall [...]


Employers (not employees) Must Track Hours

Under Massachusetts law, it is the duty of an employer to ensure that accurate records are kept and maintained for each employee as to “the hours worked each day and each week by each employee.” M. G. L. ch. 151, § 15. M. G. L. ch. 151, § 15. Tomei v. Corix Utilities (U.S.) Inc., CIV.A. 07-CV-11928DP, 2009 WL 2982775 (D. Mass. Sept. 14, 2009). The FLSA requires no specific format of the records, but does require that the records include certain identifying information about the employees wages and hours. The following is a listing of the basic records that an employer must maintain accurately: Employee's full name and social security number. Address, including zip code. Birth date, if younger than 19. Sex and occupation. Time and day of week when employee's workweek begins. Hours worked each day. Total hours worked each workweek. Basis on which employee's wages are paid (e.g., "$9 per hour", "$440 a week", "piecework") Regular hourly pay rate. Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings. Total overtime earnings for the workweek. All additions to or deductions from the employee's wages. Total wages paid each pay period. Date of payment and the pay period covered by the payment. How Long Do Employers Have to Keep Records: Employers must keep all payroll records, collective bargaining agreements, sales and purchase records for at least three years. The records must show what wage computations are based on and should be kept for two years. For example all time cards and piece work tickets, wage rate tables, work [...]


Home Improvement Contractor Disputes

The nature of the contractor-homeowner relationship is unique, and one that can invariably lead to heated disputes. Homeowners generally feel at a disadvantage, due to the specialized knowledge required to estimate costs, time, and complete the project. Contractors often have difficulty accurately predicting costs, and change-orders or modifications arise. An attorney can be an ally for any project, and a proactive approach can prevent disputes. With respect to large scale projects, additions, and renovations, homeowners should consult an attorney prior to signing or negotiating contracts. Legal fees paid at the outset, can potentially save money, time, and stress in the event of a dispute. The benefits of preventative legal oversight cannot be overstated. A small expenditure at the onset is far more effective than addressing a dispute after it has occurred. For smaller projects, a little preparation can ensure your project is more likely to proceed in a satisfactory manner. Homeowners in the Commonwealth have significant rights pursuant to the Home Improvement Contractor Act. For example, the following is a brief list of contractor requirements: All contracts over $1,000.00 MUST be in writing. The contract must include the contractor’s name, start and completion dates, description of the work, total contract amount, and signatures of all parties Contractor MUST NOT demand a deposit greater than 1/3rd of the contract total Final payments cannot be demanded until all parties are “satisfied” The contract must list all required permits The contractor’s registration number MUST appear on the contract, the permits, and any advertising The contractor MUST adhere to all building [...]


Debt Collection, Out-of-state Judgments, and Supplementary Process

Commercial Debt Collection Bace Law Group, LLC pursues the collection of unpaid receivables, unpaid invoices, and debts in Massachusetts on behalf of businesses, large and small. In this economic climate, collecting debts in Massachusetts and ensuring continued cash flow has never been more important. If you have unpaid invoices, unpaid receivables, collecting unpaid invoices, or have unsuccessfully used a debt collection agency – we want to talk to you. We pursue debt collection claims on the commercial side aggressively, investigating the debtor’s bank account information, real estate holdings, and employment situation. Our contingency fee agreements are tailored to generally include a lower fee if our Massachusetts collections attorneys can obtain a successful recovery prior to filing litigation. Thus, we always attempt to reach out to the debtor prior to filing litigation; it has been argued these tactics are a waste of time, however, at Bace Law Group, LLC we almost always attempt to first bring the debtor to the negotiation table. It is during these pre-litigation negotiations that vital information about the likelihood of success can often be obtained. Foreign Judgments - Out-of-State Judgments - Judgments from another State Collecting a Judgment that was issued from a court in a state other than Massachusetts actually invokes Constitutional safeguards, namely, the Full Faith and Credit Clause. Thus, enforcing foreign Judgments remain favorite cases of Bace Law Group, LLC. If your debtor has moved to Massachusetts, has assets in Massachusetts, or is currently employed in Massachusetts, but you are holding a Judgment from another state – we want [...]


Former Bridgetenders Sue Over Unpaid Wages in Gloucester

Read the full article Here. Former bridgetenders sue over wages Three former Blynman Bridge bridgetenders are suing their former employer, claiming East Boston-based Cora Operations Inc. failed to pay them adequately. In fact, they say, only a fraction of what state law dictates for public works jobs. Rockport residents Peter Billert and Frank Favalora, along with Beverly resident Troy Raymond, claim in their suit filed in Essex County Superior Court that Cora Operations failed to pay them at a "minimum prevailing wage rate" as required of employers on public works projects. Instead, they said, Cora Operations, which has contracted with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to operate the Western Avenue span also known as the Cut Bridge, set their pay at a maximum of $13.50 per hour. The lawsuit, which will be heard in Superior Court in Newburyport, also names John V. Zirpolo as a defendant. The suit describes Zirpolo as the president, treasurer and secretary of Cora Operations. Zirpolo did not return phone calls Friday seeking comment. The suit claims the three bridgetenders — all of whom ceased working at Cora in 2015 — should have been paid at a higher rate mandated by state statute than the hourly rate set by Cora. "Cora contracted with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation through multiple public works contracts to provide maintenance, repair and construction work on the (Blynman) Bridge," the lawsuit stated. "Each of the contracts between Cora and MassDOT for work at the bridge were public works projects and subject to the Massachusetts Prevailing Wage Law." [...]


Unpaid Overtime Claims Extended From Two (2) to Three (3) Years

Before November of 2014, if you filed litigation alleging you were owed overtime compensation, the Court could only "look back" two years from the date you filed the lawsuit when awarding any potential recovery. The only overtime hours that "counted," were the ones you worked within that most recent two year period. The third year back, and the hours worked, were treated as if they never happened from a legal perspective (unless other allegations were made under the Federal law). Thankfully, the Legislature just extended the statute of limitations period to three (3) years for overtime claims. You can read the legalese here, or just take our word for it. So What? The significance is, those individuals who are owed overtime going back three years don't have to sacrifice that third year - their potential claims become much more valuable, and worth pursuing.  If you have unpaid overtime in Massachusetts, we want to hear from you.  If you were misclassified as an independent contractor, and have unpaid wages or unpaid overtime - we want to hear from you.


Unpaid Wages for “Off-the-clock” Work in Massachusetts

Short Answer:Generally, you must be paid/compensated for every hour that you're actually working for your employer. When an employer fails to pay you for every hour, by doing any of the following: deleting hours, forcing you to work after punching out, forcing you to work through lunch breaks, or requiring you to punch out even though your job duties necessitate more work that day - you are entitled to three times the unpaid wages plus a reasonable attorney's fee award. Long Answer:Blatant violations of the Wage Act occur when your employer fails to pay you for time that's clearly working time. For example, if your employer explicitly decides to pay you for 40-hours per week, regardless of your actual time spent working in excess of 40 hours, and not a dollar more, that payment policy would be a Wage Act violation. You cannot lawfully be terminated for having an attorney send a demand letter to your employer, or even for filing litigation to recoup the unpaid wages. If you are experiencing any of the following, please contact our office for a free initial consultation: you are required to perform certain tasks prior to punching in, such as loading a truck, collecting equipment, preparing supplies, etc... you are required to perform certain tasks after punching out, such as finishing up paperwork, cleaning the job site, unloading supplies, etc... you are forced to work through lunch or other meal breaks your employer does not accurately track your hours worked, or has no system for tracking actual hours worked [...]