Q: I am a college student and I work at a pizza place over
the summer to make some money. I do mostly cashiering but sometimes I
bus tables and clean up the kitchen at the end of the night. Sometimes I
work long hours. When should I be paid time and one-half? I have
heard about this but unsure when it applies to me.
A: First, let me assume you are 18 years or older and are not
covered by some of the laws which apply to minors (14-17 years old).
Based on what you have described as your job duties, it sounds like
you are a non-exempt employee. This means you are entitled being paid
overtime. If you work over 40 hours in a single work week, you are
entitled to overtime pay (time and one-half) for each hour worked over
40. Also you should be paid at least minimum wage, which is currently
$9.00 per hour. Effective January 1, 2016, the minimum wage will
increase to $10.00 per hour.
If your hours exceed 40 hours in one week, then you should be paid
time and one-half. Your manager though can adjust your hours though to
keep you below that threshold. As an example, your manager may schedule
you to work three 10-hour days and then ask you to work a six-hour day
on Saturday to keep you below the 40-hour threshold. However, if you
worked 12 hours on that Saturday, you would be entitled to receive two
hours of pay at time and one-half.
The other law that would likely apply to you would be the Massachusetts
law on meal breaks. You are permitted to take a 30-minute unpaid meal
break if you work more than six consecutive hours. You can voluntarily
waive this meal break but then you must be paid for that time.
The Attorney General in Massachusetts has a helpful site on wage and
hour 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 Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.