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Pizza Place Job and Time and One-half

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.

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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.

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The Attorney General in Massachusetts has a helpful site on wage and hour laws. Visit http://www.mass.gov/ago/doing-business-in-massachusetts/labor-laws-and-public-construction/wage-and-hour/.

by Pattie Hunt Sinacole, First Beacon Group LLC

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