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when is termination effective- MA

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  • when is termination effective- MA

    After calling in sick on Thursday on Friday I as I was punching in I was told not to bother because I was no longer employed there. I was then told that both my salary and commission would be paid as if Weds. was my last day. Seeing as my company does not pay for sick pay and I did call in sick on Thursday I understand not getting paid for Thursday but are they allowed to not pay me for Friday? I showed up for work on time (even early) and ready to work Friday.


    Also, what is the minimum number of employees required before any employer is required to participate in health benefits and 401k?

  • #2
    If you did not work Friday they do not have to pay you for Friday. However, depending on circumstances it is possible that you might be due "reporting pay" - Phil?

    No MA employer is required by law to offer health benefits or a 401k no matter how many employees they have. Health benefits are entirely voluntary in every state except Hawaii; 401k plans are entirely voluntary in all 50 states.
    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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    • #3
      what is reporting pay?

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      • #4
        A very few states, but MA is one of them, require that if an employee reports for work and is sent home again, they are due "reporting pay" in the amount of x hours of pay. I believe that in MA it is 3 hours, but I am not certain if the situation you describe is one that triggers reporting pay under MA law. I rarely need to invoke the statute either for myself or my employees so I don't have it off the top of my head, and I'm not in a situation where I can easily look for it.

        We have a MA attorney who posts here and I am sure he will be able to tell us for certain.
        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
          455 CMR 2.03(1), amended in 2003, deals with “show-up” pay, or reporting pay. It states very that if an employee is “scheduled to work 3 or more hours” and reports for duty, then she gets paid for at least 3 hours.

          The question in these cases is oftentimes whether someone is "scheduled to work". If an employee is terminated AFTER she shows up for work, then there is a strong argument she should get at least 3 hours of pay for that day.

          If the employee handbook, document or otherwise, permits an employee to take paid sick days, then the employee must be paid wages for days.

          One other thing, an employee must be paid her full wages (including accrued vacation) on the date of termination, unless she quit.

          It is clear that vacation pay is a wage in MA. What is not clear is what else counts as a wage. As for "benefits," c.149, sec. 48 states "damages incurred, including treble damages for any loss of wages and other benefits". Some of us try to argue that "benefits" include a wider variety of compensation (401(k), health insurance, ...). But its a big debate among us, especially when we're in court.

          Interestingly, I'm teaching a seminar on Tuesday where this may be an issue.

          Hope that helps.

          Best, Phil
          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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