Q: I had heard that the minimum wage was going to increase in Massachusetts. I am applying for cashier jobs and they say they will pay minimum wage but it seems awfully low. What is the current minimum wage in Massachusetts? How does overtime work in Massachusetts for cashier positions?
A: Most employees in Massachusetts should be paid the minimum wage or higher. The current minimum wage in Massachusetts is $9.00, as of January 1, 2015. There are a few exceptions. For example, employees who are eligible to receive tips as part of their income (e.g., waitresses, bartenders, etc.), may be paid $3.00 per hour. However, tipped employees must still earn more than $9.00 per hour when all of their wages are combined. Some agricultural employees can also be paid $8.00 per hour. On January 1, 2016, the minimum wage in Massachusetts will be $10.00 per hour and then on January 1, 2018, the minimum wage will be $11.00 per hour. Visit http://www.mass.gov/lwd/labor-standards/minimum-wage/ for more information on the minimum wage law in Massachusetts.
Most cashier roles are classified as non-exempt. This means that the role is eligible for overtime pay. Overtime compensation should be paid when a non-exempt employee works more than 40 hours in a single work week.
On a related note, there is a new sick leave law that was passed in November, 2014. It requires employers to allow employees to earn and use sick time. Employers with 11 or more employees will need to offer paid sick time, however employers with fewer than 11 employees still have to offer the sick time but it does not have to be paid. The law isn’t effective until July 1, 2015. Employers should think about how to implement this law in advance of July 1, 2015.
You are smart to ask questions about the minimum wage. For most cashier roles, you should be earning at least $9.00, at least in the state of Massachusetts.
Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.