An Assembler Asks Questions About Overtime

Q: I work as an assembler in a manufacturing company on the south shore. I have my typical work hours of 7:00am – 3:30pm with a 30 minute lunch break. However, sometimes when we hit our busy season many of us have to work overtime. Management will ask us first and then if they don’t get enough volunteers, they will demand that some of us come in. My question is what is we work on a holiday. How should they be paying us? Time and one-half, double time?

A: Thanks for submitting your questions. I was pleased to read that you were receiving the 30-minute meal break.

To better answer your question on how your company should be paying you, I consulted Jonathan R. Sigel, Partner in the Labor and Employment Group at Mirick O’Connell. Sigel shares that “As a general rule, under Massachusetts law, only a retailer which has more than seven employees in a store is required to pay ‘premium pay’ (at time and one-half) to the company’s non-exempt employees for work performed on Sunday and certain legal holidays. Massachusetts and federal law does not require that any employees (regardless of the industry) be paid premium pay for Sunday and holiday work.” Assemblers are typically classified as non-exempt under federal law.

Sigel further explains, “In Massachusetts, manufacturers may legally operate on legal holidays (assuming permits are obtained when necessary), but employees generally cannot be required to work on those days – i.e., work must be optional. The law provides that non-exempt employees can be required to work in a mill or factory on any legal holiday only if such work is both ‘absolutely necessary’ and can lawfully be performed on a Sunday.”

If you would like more information about these laws, visit

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.