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Docked holiday pay Massachusetts

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  • Docked holiday pay Massachusetts

    I work hourly, 40 per week, for a privately owned trucking company. They don't recognize Columbus Day as a paid holiday. I could not work that day because the account I work with comes from a company that recognizes Columbus Day. I wasn't expecting to be paid for the holiday. Instead of holiday pay, 8 hours of regular pay was added to my paycheck. Yesterday, 10/30, my boss left me a note stating that I was overpaid the previous week and would have 8 hours deducted from my next check. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I thought that an employer cannot deduct pay for ANY reason without permission from the employee. It was there mistake, so I don't have to suffer... Right?

  • #2
    Our MA experts will be along shortly, I'm sure, but generally the law allows employers to correct mistakes in salary that include accidental overpayments to employees.
    I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

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    • #3
      Unless the deductions don't reduce wages below minimum wage, there's no mistake. Overpayments may be deducted from future paychecks.

      The Department of Labor has been clear about this. Here's their opinion letter on the subject from 2004.

      http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/opinion/F..._NA_recoup.pdf

      The DOL's position is that where an employer makes a loan or an advance of wages to an employee, the principal may be deducted from the employee’s earnings even if such deduction cuts into the minimum wage or overtime pay due the employee under the FLSA. An employer may not, however, make an assessment for administrative costs or charge any interest payment that brings the employee below the minimum wage.


      .
      This post is by Philip Gordon, a Massachusetts employment attorney (www.gordonllp.com).

      This post is NOT legal advice. It is for general/educational information purposes only. You should not rely on this post if you are making decisions, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post may be considered "advertising" under the MA professional rules for attorneys.

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      • #4
        It doesn't affect the answer to this question, but just for clarification; the state of MA does not permit deductions to take the employee below minimum wage in this kind of issue, even though apparently from what Phil says, the Feds do.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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        • #5
          CBG's advice seems to be the prevailing wisdom. The Attorney General released an opinion in 2003 (http://www.mass.gov/dos/mw_docs/mw-2003-003.htm) that says deductions from wages for "cash advances, such as advances on vacation pay" may not be made if they reduce those wages below minimum wage.

          I imagine that an overpayment would be treated like a "cash advance," so the employer would not be permitted to make a deducion in MA that reduced your pay below minimum wage, but I've never seen a decision exactly on point for "overpayments". If anyone has something on point, let me know.

          The bottom line, if the employer was really in a corner, I suppose they could take it to court. But, I can't imagine anyone spending time and money to fight that case.

          Thanks again for the clarification, cbg.

          .
          This post is by Philip Gordon, a Massachusetts employment attorney (www.gordonllp.com).

          This post is NOT legal advice. It is for general/educational information purposes only. You should not rely on this post if you are making decisions, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post may be considered "advertising" under the MA professional rules for attorneys.

          Comment

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