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!
by Pattie Hunt Sinacole, First Beacon Group LLC
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