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Payment of Wages: Massachusetts

Payment of Wages requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Vicki M. Lambert, The Payroll Advisor

Summary

  • Massachusetts employers are required to pay wages by cash, or by check redeemable at face value without discount or deduction. Penalties are imposed for violations. See Wage Payment Methods.
  • Different pay frequency rules apply to nonexempt and exempt employees. However, all employees must be paid within either six or seven days after the end of the pay period, depending upon how many days they worked during the week. Penalties are imposed for violations of the pay frequency rules. See Pay Frequency.
  • Employers are prohibited from making deductions from employees' wages unless they are specifically permitted by law. Special rules apply to employers that require employees to wear uniforms and to staffing agencies and worksite employers. Penalties are imposed for noncompliance. See Permitted and Prohibited Wage Deductions.
  • With each payment of wages, employers are required to provide employees with a pay statement showing basic wage related information, including a detailed list of any deductions made. Special requirements apply to railroad employees. Penalties are imposed for noncompliance. See Pay Statement Requirements.
  • Employers are obligated to promptly pay employees who quit or are terminated. Employers that choose to provide paid vacation to their employees must treat payments of the unused time like any other wages. Payment of accrued sick time is optional. Penalties are imposed for noncompliance. See Termination Pay.
  • After the death of an employee, employers must follow a specific set of rules in order to properly turn over any compensation owed to the deceased employee's estate. See Deceased Employee Wages.
  • Unclaimed wages are considered abandoned property if unclaimed for three years as of June 30 of the reporting year. Employers are required to file an annual report stating whether any employee property is unclaimed. Due diligence notices must also be sent to employees with unclaimed wages. Penalties are imposed for noncompliance. See Unclaimed Wages.