Q: I work in a bookstore and enjoy my work. I work about 20 hours
per week. My hours fluctuate based on the owner’s needs. I have been
reading about the new minimum wage in Massachusetts. Is this only for
full-time employees because my manager has not mentioned a word about
it? When is it effective (if I am eligible)? Maybe there is a waiting
period? Please educate me!
A: A bookstore seems like a wonderful place to work! The new
minimum wage law is effective on January 1, 2016 in the state of
Massachusetts. There is no waiting period. The new minimum wage
applies to most workers, except for service workers (e.g., wait staff
and bartenders, who are eligible for income based on tips) and
agricultural workers (e.g., employees who work on a farm). There are a
few additional exceptions but would not likely apply in your situation.
The new minimum wage, effective January 1, 2016, is $10.00 per hour.
The new minimum wage law applies to both full- and part-time
employees in Massachusetts. It does not matter if you work 5 hours per
week or 40 hours per week. A fluctuating schedule also does not exclude
you from the law. On January 1, 2017 the new minimum wage will be
$11.00 per hour.
Maybe your manager has already made the change via your payroll vendor
but has not communicated the change to employees. Most payroll vendors
are aware of the change and throughout 2015 and have been informing
clients repeatedly of the requirement to comply.
I think it is acceptable to ask your manager about the change. After
all, he or she may need a gentle reminder if somehow it slipped between
the cracks. In this case, ignorance is not a defense, but perhaps a
reminder would be welcomed!
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.