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Salaried Exempt - Massachusetts

The minimum salaried amount for exempt employee is 455.00 week, in the state of Massachusetts this would now mean they are paid less than minimum wage - is this still correct?


  • rrupert
    rrupert ✭✭✭

    when federal levels and state levels conflict, the employee always gets the benefit of the higher rate. Therefore I don't see how one could possibly argue that an exempt employee could be paid only $455 a week. At minimum they would need $12*40hours or $480 a week. Hopefully you don't have an employer trying to pay an exempt employee $455 a week!

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  • This is an interesting question - I'm not a lawyer, but I will point out several things I found,

    Under the FLSA, an employee who meets the requirements for exemption under the executive, administrative, and professional employee requirements is exempt from both the minimum wage and overtime requirements of the FLSA. Generally, under the FLSA, a salary of at least $455 per workweek meets the minimum salary requirement for these exemptions. The salary meets the requirement even if the exempt employee works more than 63 hours during a workweek at which point the average hourly rate drops below the $7.25 federal minimum wage,

    MA law (General Laws Part I Title XXI Chapter 151 Section 1A(3)) only requires a salary of $80 per week for exemption from overtime under the executive, Admin, etc. exemption, Federal law is more generous at $455 ($11.375 per hour).

    As of Jan 1, 2019, the MA min wage rate is $12.00 per hour
    Prior to that, MA min wage was $11.00 per hour

    Under MA GL 151 Section 1, the minimum wage applies to "any occupation" as defined in Chapter 151.
    Occupation is defined in Ch 151 Sec 2 -
    ''Occupation'', an industry, trade or business or branch thereof or class of work therein, whether operated for profit or otherwise, and any other class of work in which persons are gainfully employed, but shall not include professional service, agricultural and farm work, work by persons being rehabilitated or trained under rehabilitation or training programs in charitable, educational or religious institutions, or work by members of religious orders. Occupation shall also not include outside sales work regularly performed by outside salesmen who regularly sell a product or products away from their employer's place of business and who do not make daily reports or visits to the office or plant of their employer.

    MA Regulation 454 CMR 27.03(3) states (in part)
    The terms "bona fide executive, or administrative or professional person" in M.G.L. c. 151, § 1A(3), and “professional service” in M.G.L. c. 151, § 2, shall have the same meaning as set forth in 29 CFR Part 541.

    The exemption section 151 1A only applies to overtime compensation and not to the minimum wage. Executive and Administrative employees are not mentioned as an exception to the definition of "any occupation" with respect to the minimum wage requirements while "professional service" is specifically listed as an exception.

    On that basis, IMH, and non-legal, O, executive and administrative employees in MA must be paid at a regular rate that equates to at least $12 per hour per workweek in order to be in compliance with MA law.

    That said, it appears that where an otherwise exempt employee works more than 40 hours during a workweek, a salary payment of $480 ($12 x 40 hours) would not be in compliance with MA law.

  • It is not uncommon for states to not recognize all the 100+ MW/OT exceptions in federal law. It is possible to be in compliance with state law but not federal law Or visa versa. The employee seeks remedy in which ever jurisdiction's rules are being violated.

    Also, even under FLSA (federal law), the 5 or so White Collar exceptions are not the only MW/OT in FLSA. Far from it. Your starting point is always to see what federal rules if any are applicable. Then do the same thing for state. Employers need to complie with both sets of rules.

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