a. Figure out what your employer owes you
1. Figure out how many hours you worked. These tools might help.
- Sample Wage and Hour Chart, MassLegalHelp.org.
- Work Hours Calendar, U.S. Department of Labor. Note: This PDF prints out a calendar for the whole year. It is 19 pages long. If you’re using a public computer and paying for printing, you may want to print just a few pages—only the months you need.
- Timesheet App for iPhone, U.S. Department of Labor. This is a timesheet app for iPhones. You can use it to record your work hours. It calculates how much the employer owes you. It also includes overtime pay calculations. It is available in English and Spanish.
Do your best to remember the hours you worked. Start keeping your own records of hours worked and wages paid.
- If you get a paycheck, keep all your check stubs or photocopy your checks.
- If you get paid in cash, write down the amount in a notebook, chart or app.
2. How much should your employer have paid you for your regular hours?
- Multiply the number of hours you worked by the hourly wage you and your employer agreed on. As of January 1, 2021, most workers in Massachusetts should get at least the minimum wage of $13.50 an hour. See below for the Massachusetts minimum wage in prior years. See if the minimum wage applies to you. Do not include your overtime hours here.
- Example: Mary worked 40 hours during her regular work week. Her hourly wage is $13.50. She should have been paid $540. 40 hours x $13.50/hr = $540.
3. How much overtime does your employer owe you?
- Many workers should be paid overtime when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. See if overtime applies to you. Overtime pay is 1½ times your regular hourly pay. If your regular pay is $13.50 an hour, your overtime pay rate should be $20.25 an hour ($13.50 + $6.75)
- Multiply the number of your overtime hours by your overtime rate.
- Example: Mary worked 20 hours of overtime. She should have been paid $405 for overtime (20 x $20.25)
4. Add up the amounts you are owed.
- Add the regular pay your employer owers you and the overtime pay he or she owes you.
- If you are missing other pay, add that number too. For example, if you should have been paid for a holiday or for a vacation day.
- Example: Mary should have been paid $540 plus $405 for overtime, a total of $945.
5. Figure out how much you were actually paid.
If you have paystubs, use them. Or, if you have any other written records, use those. If you do not have any written records, do your best to remember how much you were paid.
6. Compare the amount you were paid to the amount you are owed.
- Example: Mary was paid $500. She should have been paid $945. Her employer owes her $445.50 ($945-$500). This is the amount she will ask for on her complaint to the Attorney General.
7. In prior years, the Massachusetts minimum wage for most workers was:
- $8.00 an hour (January 2008 through December 2014)
- $9.00 an hour (January 2015 through December 2015)
- $10.00 an hour (January 2016 through December 2016)
- $11.00 an hour (January 2018 through December 2018)
- $12.00 an hour (January 2019 through December 2019)
- $12.75 an hour (January 2020 through December 2020)