3. Where to file a wage complaint
Federal and state laws about wages, hours and overtime are different. See Know Your Rights to find the laws that protect you best. File your complaint with the agency that enforces the laws that are better for you
If Massachusetts laws are better for you, file your complaint with the Fair Labor Division of the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General. They enforce Massachusetts laws about wages, hours and overtime. (617) 727-3465
If federal law is better for you, file your complaint with the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. They enforce federal laws about wages, hours and overtime. 1-866-487-9243
The federal minimum wage for most workers is $7.25 an hour. As of January 1, 2021, the Massachusetts minimum wage for most workers is $13.50 an hour.
- Lisa is a home aid. Lisa should get $13.50/hr. Her employer is been paying her $11/hour.She will file a complaint with the Massachusetts Attorney General.
Federal overtime laws apply to certain larger restaurants and gas stations. Massachusetts laws do not apply to restaurant and gas station workers. See a chart that compares Massachusetts and federal overtime rules. If federal law says you should get overtime and Massachusetts law does not, file a complaint with the Department of Labor.
- Freddy pumps gas at Sunny Oil garage. He gets paid $13.50/hour. One weekend another employee got sick and couldn’t come in. Freddy’s boss asked Freddy to work that weekend. Freddy had already worked 40 hours that week, but he needed the money so he came in and worked 14 hours. Sunny Oil only paid Freddy $13.50/hr for those extra 14 hours. They should have paid him $20.25. When Freddy asked his boss for the extra money, the boss said no. Freddy will file a complaint with the Department of Labor.
If you take your employer to court in a Massachusetts court, you can ask for three times your missing pay. Federal law does not let you ask for this money. If your situation is covered by both federal and state law, you would probably choose to file your complaint with the Attorney General of Massachusetts instead of the U.S. Department of Labor.