Labor law in Masachusetts

Labor laws are constituted to protect employee rights, compensation and benefits as well as to ensure a fair, transparent and level playing field for employers. Additionally, they protect employees against unfair termination or discrimination on any basis. Massachusetts specifically provides organizations with such a regulatory guideline on labor welfare, so as to ensure a stable and healthy relationship between employees and employers.

Labor Wage Laws
The Massachusetts’ ‘Minimum Fair Wage Law’ and the Federal ‘Fair Labor Standards Act’ are complementary regulations on employee wages, hours worked and overtime. In cases where both state and federal laws are applicable, the one that stipulates higher standards is followed. As of 2008, MFWL sets minimum wages levels at $8.00 per hour (not applicable on tipped employees). Further, employees working in excess of 40 hours per week are generally paid at a minimum 1.5 times the standard rate.

Youth Employment Laws
Massachusetts labor law stipulates that organizations cannot employ anyone below 18 years, without a work permit (they may still not work more than 18 hours per week). Further, no child less than 14 years can work, while 14 or 15 years old minors cannot work beyond 7 pm during school days, and 9 pm during vacation. Post 8 pm, minors can only work under supervision and with adequate security.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance Laws
Massachusetts labor law directs employers to provide workers with compensation insurance (to give protection to them and their dependents), if there is serious injury or death while working. Even through the responsibility to prove that this accident occurred while on job is on the employee, the employer still needs to cover medical expenses till litigation concludes.

Massachusetts Blue Law
‘Blue Law’ lays out wage guidelines for businesses that operate on Sundays or holidays. It also provides guidance on application of permits to operate during holidays. Additionally, employers cannot mandate employees to work on Sundays, nor can they use that pretext for penalizing or terminating the employment contract.

Family Medical Leave Act
‘Family Medical Leave Act’ is a federal law that directs employers to provide a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave to employees in case of maternity or adoption, to provide support to her spouse or child during illness, or when the employee herself is ill to the extent that prevents her from working.

In Massachusetts, employees who have worked at least 1,250 hours in proceeding 12 months (but not necessarily continuously) are only eligible for above coverage. Further, all public agencies as well as any business that have 50 or more employees working in any given 75 miles radius, have to provide the benefits enumerated under FMLA.

Occupational Safety and Health Act
‘Occupational Safety and Health Act’ is a federal act that sets workplace safety regulations, wherein every citizen is entitled to know about materials that she may be exposed to in workplace; their potential harmful effects and preventive measures that are taken. This is a federal act, which applies to the state of Massachusetts as well.


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