Massachusetts Minimum Wage: Minimum Wage in Massachusetts for 2024

February 26, 2024

Staying ahead with the latest on Massachusetts minimum wage regulations is essential for any restaurant owner in the Bay State. Are you fully updated? 

This guide offers a comprehensive look at the minimum wage in Massachusetts, covering everything from regulations for tipped employees and tip credit operations to overtime pay guidelines. Plus, it includes strategic advice for managing labor costs effectively. 

Dive into these insights to ensure your restaurant is compliant with state laws and positioned for success in a competitive environment.

What is the Minimum Wage in Massachusetts?

In 2023, Massachusetts saw the minimum wage reach $15.00 per hour, marking a significant milestone as the culmination of a progressive five-year agreement to improve workers’ wages. This adjustment reflected a conscious effort by the state to enhance living standards for hourly workers, including those in the restaurant sector. 

However, in the early months of 2024, this $15.00 hourly rate remains unchanged. The 2023 increase was the final installment of the aforementioned agreement, and as of now, no further increases are slated for 2024. Nonetheless, a growing movement is advocating for an increase to $20 per hour.

Who Qualifies for Minimum Wage?

The minimum wage in Massachusetts covers all employees, with specific exceptions, including agricultural workers, who are entitled to a minimum wage of $8.00 per hour, members of religious orders, individuals in certain training programs within educational, nonprofit, or religious organizations, and outside sales personnel.

Minimum Wage for Tipped Employees in Massachusetts

The minimum wage in Massachusetts for tipped employees remains unchanged in 2024. This means that the service rate, or the minimum wage for tipped employees, stays at $6.75 per hour. This rate applies to employees who routinely provide customer services and earn more than $20 monthly in tips.

The expectation is that these tipped employees will reach an effective hourly wage of at least $15, combining their tips with the base pay. If their earnings (tips plus the base pay of $6.75 per hour) do not reach the minimum wage in Massachusetts of $15 per hour by the end of their shift, it’s the employer’s responsibility to cover the shortfall. This system ensures that all employees are fairly compensated, regardless of the variability in tips received.

How Tip Credit Works

Tip credit is a concept that allows employers to pay a lower hourly wage to employees who earn tips, under the assumption that the tips will make up the difference to meet the minimum wage requirements. In Massachusetts, this means you can pay your tipped employees a base rate of $6.75 per hour, with the expectation that their tips will boost their earnings to meet or exceed the state minimum wage of $15 per hour. 

This practice requires meticulous record-keeping and transparency to ensure that employees receive fair compensation for their service. Employers must closely monitor their employees' total earnings (wage plus tips) to guarantee that no one falls short of the minimum wage threshold.

Overtime Pay in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, the approach to overtime pay reflects a commitment to compensating employees fairly for long hours. For any work beyond 40 hours within a week, employees are entitled to 1.5 times their regular hourly rate. This rate must meet or exceed the state’s minimum wage to compensate workers adequately for their extra time.

It’s important to note that the state doesn’t require overtime pay for work beyond 8 hours a day—only when the weekly total surpasses 40 hours. However, while Massachusetts law exempts restaurant employees from state overtime requirements, federal law does not. This means restaurant workers must also receive overtime pay at one and one-half times their regular rate for hours worked over 40 in a week, aligning state and federal standards for your staff’s benefit.

Who is Eligible for Overtime?

The minimum wage applies to all employees except agricultural workers ($8.00 per hour is the minimum wage for most agricultural workers), members of a religious order, workers being trained in certain educational, nonprofit, or religious organizations, and outside salespeople.

Example of Overtime Pay Calculation

Suppose an employee’s regular hourly rate is $15.00, and they worked 45 hours in a week. Here’s how their overtime pay would be calculated:

  • Regular hourly rate: $15.00

  • Overtime rate (1.5 × $15.00): $22.50

  • Overtime hours worked: 5 hours

Overtime pay: 5 hours × $22.50 = $112.50

Therefore, that week, the employee would earn regular wages for the first 40 hours ($15.00 × 40 = $600) plus an additional $112.50 for 5 hours of overtime, totaling $712.50 before taxes and deductions.

Massachusetts State Minimum Wage vs Federal Minimum Wage

Navigating the complexities of minimum wage laws requires a clear understanding of federal and state requirements. Here’s an overview:

Federal Minimum Wage

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal minimum wage is set at $7.25 per hour as of July 24, 2009. This act covers most workers in the United States, ensuring they receive at least this amount for their labor. Additionally, the FLSA mandates overtime pay at one and a half times the regular rate for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek.

State Minimum Wage

Other States, including Massachusetts, often set their own minimum wages that surpass the federal minimum. When discrepancies between federal and state minimum wages occur, the higher of the two rates prevails. This ensures employees benefit from the most favorable wage standards, reinforcing the state’s commitment to a living wage.

Massachusetts Minimum Wage & Labor Law Posters

To maintain a compliant workplace, understanding and adhering to Massachusetts's workplace poster requirements is non-negotiable. These posters are designed to keep employees informed about their rights under various labor laws. As an employer in Massachusetts, you are mandated to display the following notices prominently within your establishment:

  • Massachusetts Wage and Hour Laws - Guides on wage and working hours rights.

  • Fair Employment Law - Advocates for a workplace free from discrimination.

  • MCAD Parental Leave Notice - Explains rights related to parental leave.

  • Information on Employees’ Unemployment Insurance Coverage - Clarifies eligibility for unemployment benefits.

  • Notice to Employees (English) - Details procedures and rights under workers' compensation for workplace injuries or illnesses.

  • Earned Sick Time - Outlines the accrual and use of sick time.

  • Job Safety and Health (For Private Companies) - Highlights the importance of workplace safety.

  • Safety and Health Poster (For Public Agencies) - For public agencies, ensuring awareness of health standards.

  • Temporary Worker Right to Know - Ensures temporary workers understand their rights.

  • Domestic Worker Rights - Outlines rights and protections for domestic workers.

  • Chemical Right to Know Information (For Public Agencies) - Provides information on hazardous substances.

  • U.S. Department of Labor Posters - Covers federal employment laws and standards.

  • 2022 Paid Family and Medical Leave - Details the state's family and medical leave policies.

Keeping these notices up-to-date ensures legal compliance and fosters a transparent and informed workplace culture.

Historical Minimum Wage Rates in Massachusetts

Tracing the trajectory of the minimum wage in Massachusetts offers valuable insights into the state's economic climate and its approach to worker compensation. Over the past decade, we've seen a steady increase:

2014: $8.00

2015: $9.00

2016: $10.00

2017: $11.00

2018: $11.00

2019: $12.00

2020: $12.75

2021: $13.50

2022: $14.25

2023: $15.00

2024: $15.00

This historical context sets the stage for understanding the current minimum wage in Massachusetts and its implications for your business. With 2024 seeing the minimum wage hold steady at $15.00, it's a prime time to evaluate how your business will adapt without the pressure of a wage increase.

Source: Labor Law Center

Best Practices for Businesses in Managing Current Wage Levels

Maintaining your business's competitiveness and profitability requires strategic management of wage levels, especially when they remain constant as they have this year in Massachusetts. Here are some best practices:

1. Review and Adjust Budgets Regularly 

With the current state of the minimum wage in Massachusetts, keeping a close eye on your labor costs is crucial. Regular budget reviews will help identify potential savings or areas for reallocation, ensuring your business remains financially healthy and efficient. This proactive approach allows for adjustments in strategy before minor issues become significant financial concerns.

2. Invest in Employee Training

Investing in your team's skills is a win-win. Enhanced skills lead to more efficient service and higher customer satisfaction, which can drive revenue and mitigate the impact of wage costs. Moreover, skilled employees can handle a wider range of tasks, reducing the need for additional staffing and helping manage payroll expenses more effectively.

3. Optimize Scheduling

Use scheduling software to ensure you're staffing efficiently, avoiding overstaffing during slow periods and understaffing during peak times. Effective scheduling maximizes productivity and ensures a high level of customer service, directly impacting your restaurant's reputation and success.

4. Focus on Employee Retention 

The costs associated with high turnover, including recruiting and training new staff, can quickly add up. By fostering a supportive work environment and offering competitive wages and benefits, you can improve employee retention. Long-term, retaining experienced staff is far more cost-effective than the constant cycle of hiring and training.

Implications for Restaurant Owners

For restaurant owners, the stability of the minimum wage in Massachusetts presents both challenges and opportunities:

  • Labor Cost Management: The stability of the minimum wage in Massachusetts allows for a strategic approach to labor cost management. By keeping wages constant, you can fine-tune your staffing needs, ensuring you are as efficient as possible without the immediate concern of increased labor expenses. This could be the perfect time to assess your staffing levels and make adjustments that could lead to cost savings and improved operational efficiency.

  • Pricing Strategies: The current minimum wage also gives you flexibility in adjusting your menu prices. This is an opportune moment to experiment with your pricing strategy without the pressure to compensate for higher wages. Adjusting menu prices strategically can help improve restaurant profit margins while still offering competitive prices to your customers. It’s an ideal scenario to reassess your cost structure and pricing model, ensuring they align with your business goals and market demands. 

  • Competitive Advantage: Offering a wage slightly above the minimum can significantly enhance your restaurant’s appeal to potential and current employees. This strategy not only aids in attracting better talent but also in retaining your most valuable staff members. In a competitive industry, being recognized as a desirable employer can differentiate your restaurant, contribute to lower turnover rates, and foster a more motivated and satisfied team.

Understanding these dynamics is key to leveraging the minimum wage to your advantage.

How Can I Prepare My Business for Future Minimum Wage Increases?

While the minimum wage in Massachusetts remains unchanged, it's wise to prepare for future increases. Here are some strategies:

1. Financial Forecasting

Incorporating potential minimum wage increases into your long-term financial planning is crucial. By doing so, you can ensure that your business remains profitable and sustainable. Evaluate your current wage expenses and project how future increases might impact your bottom line. This foresight allows you to adjust your pricing, budgeting, and staffing levels accordingly, ensuring you're never caught off guard.

2. Increase Efficiency

Streamlining operations can significantly mitigate the impact of rising labor costs. By identifying areas where processes can be optimized, such as simplifying menu items or improving kitchen layout, you can enhance productivity and reduce the need for additional staff hours, balancing quality and cost-effectiveness.

3. Explore Technology Solutions

Adopting technology solutions like restaurant POS systems, self-ordering kiosks, and digital menus can transform your operations. These tools not only enhance the customer experience but also optimize labor allocation. For example, implementing a mobile POS system can speed up service, allowing staff to handle more tables efficiently. Similarly, self-service options reduce the need for front-of-house staff, allowing you to reallocate resources where they're needed most.

4. Build a Financial Cushion

Creating a reserve fund from a portion of profits can provide a financial buffer against future wage increases. This fund can help absorb the initial shock of wage hikes, giving you time to adjust your business model accordingly. Additionally, it can serve as an investment in future growth, funding efficiency improvements, or technology upgrades.

By taking proactive steps today, you can position your business for success, regardless of future minimum wage adjustments.


While the Massachusetts minimum wage holds steady in 2024, labor costs will continue to evolve. This period of stability offers a prime opportunity for restaurant owners to reassess and refine their business strategies, ensuring compliance, competitiveness, and profitability in a challenging industry. By staying informed and proactive, you can smoothly manage the nuances of wage regulations and position your business for sustained success. Remember, preparation today lays the groundwork for resilience and growth tomorrow.

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Frequently Asked Questions About the Minimum Wage in Massachusetts

Navigating the specifics of minimum wage regulations in Massachusetts can raise several questions for both employers and employees. Below, we address some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the current and future status of minimum wage in the state, including adjustments, hourly requirements, and definitions of full-time employment.

Is Massachusetts Minimum Wage Going Up to $15 an Hour?

Massachusetts' minimum wage has already increased to $15 an hour. This change took effect on January 1, 2023, marking the final increase in a series intended to elevate the state's minimum hourly wage to this level​.

What Will Minimum Wage Be in MA in 2024?

In 2024, the minimum wage in Massachusetts will remain at $15.00 per hour.

What is Minimum Wage in Massachusetts in 2023?

In 2023, the minimum wage in Massachusetts was $15.00 per hour. For tipped employees, the minimum cash wage was set at $6.75 per hour, provided that their tips brought their total earnings up to at least $15.00 per hour​.

Is There a Minimum Wage for 3 hours in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, there is a provision for workers scheduled for 3 hours or more. If an employee is scheduled to work for at least 3 hours but is sent home early, the employer is required to pay for a minimum of 3 hours at the minimum wage rate. This regulation ensures that workers receive compensation for their time and availability, even if they end up working fewer hours than planned. However, this rule does not apply to charitable organizations.

Is 35 Hours Full-Time in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, a 35-hour workweek is considered full-time employment. Despite there being no strict definition distinguishing part-time from full-time work, it's generally recognized that full-time employees work a minimum of thirty hours per week. This means that at 35 hours, employment is within the full-time threshold.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal or financial advice. The details surrounding minimum wage regulations and labor laws in Massachusetts are subject to change. While we strive to keep our content up-to-date, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information presented. Restaurant owners and employers are encouraged to consult with legal or financial professionals to ensure compliance with current laws and obtain advice tailored to their situation.

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