How Massachusetts General Law 93A Affects Online Businesses

Massachusetts General Law 93A, titled Regulation of Business Practices for Consumers Protection, is designed to protect those consumers who would otherwise be unaware of their legal rights. Mass. Gen. Law 93A. As it was originally drafted, 93A did not create a private right to sue, an issue which was quickly addressed by the legislature, and now both consumers and businesses can use 93A as a basis for enforcing their rights through private law suit. Unlike some other states, the Massachusetts consumer protection statute provides for an express, rather than an implied, right to sue for businesses who feel they have been victim of a deceptive or unfair act. It is often easy to spot a consumer protection issue with standard businesses, such as: bait and switch advertising, failure to disclose defects, price-fixing, faulty warranty claims and un-bargained for return/refund policies. It becomes much more difficult to determine when a consumer protection claim based upon Mass. Gen. Law 93A exists when the business involved is only involved in electronic commerce, and especially when that business is not located within the state.

When evaluating a potential consumer protection claim, it is necessary to keep in mind that the required elements are different for a business and a consumer. A consumer must follow certain procedural and substantive requirements outlined in section 9 of the act. Among other elements, section 9 requires a 30 day demand letter, a showing that they are in fact a consumer, an unfair or deceptive practice, and a showing of damages.

Businesses, especially online businesses, differ substantially in their required elements. Section 11 sets out the requirements for a business 93A claim, and requires that a business show:

  1. That they are a “business” – [involved in the conduct of any trade or commerce];
  2. That the defendant engaged in an “unfair method of competition” or the defendant’s actions were “unfair” or “deceptive;”
  3. That these actions occurred primarily and substantially within Massachusetts (the burden is on the defendant to disprove this presumption as a defense); and
  4. That these actions resulted in a loss to the business plaintiff of money or property, real or personal, for money damages to issue; or
  5. That these actions “may have the effect of causing such loss of money or property.”

Mass. Gen. Law 93A

Because of the openness of the internet, and the anonymity involved, it can be extremely difficult to demonstrate that a certain method was either unfair or deceptive. More difficult, especially in the context of an online business, is demonstrating that a certain act has the effect of causing damages or loss. Since online transactions vary in amount and since the market is continually expanding, it can be extremely difficult to demonstrate actual loss, or even potential for loss. Since each element must be present before filing a claim, the prudent advocate will research the facts of the case prior to initiating a 93A claim. Without the properly pled elements, most judges will discard with the case at the first possible opportunity.

In addition, online businesses present unique jurisdictional issues that may confuse the use of 93A for consumer protection purposes. In order for there to be any hope of applying 93A to an online business, the “unfair or deceptive act” must have primarily or substantially occurred within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. When neither the deceptive/unfair act, nor the harm takes place in MA, a consumer protection claim will be barred based upon 93A, even if the victim is a Massachusetts resident or business. In the recent Massachusetts Superior Court case of Fillmore v. Leasecomm Corp., the judge dismissed a consumer protection claim brought by a Massachusetts company against a California company because the allegedly deceptive sales tactics and the unfair contracts were all consummated in California. Fillmore v. Leasecomm Corp., 18 Mass. L. Rptr. 560, 2004 WL 3091642 (Mass. Super. Ct. Nov. 15, 2004). In Fillmore, the plaintiff’s pleadings failed the ‘center of gravity’ test applied for jurisdictional purposes, and the claim was therefore dismissed. When deciding whether or not to file a consumer protection claim in Massachusetts, it is best first to look at the act, the harm and the jurisdiction. The more that occurred within Massachusetts jurisdiction, the more likely the claim will be allowed to proceed. However, Massachusetts courts do find in favor of Massachusetts companies when all the elements, including the jurisdictional ones are met. If a contract was to be performed in Massachusetts, and the damages took place in Massachusetts, then the jurisdictional element will be met and the court will find for the claimant, as the Massachusetts appeals court did in Auto Shine Car Wash Sys. v. Nice ‘n Clean Car Wash, Inc. In Auto Shine, the parties frequently met in Massachusetts, and the misrepresentation originated in Massachusetts. The court held in favor of the plaintiff for double damages, as there was a willful and knowing violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A 58 Mass. App. Ct. 685 (Mass. Appeals Ct. 2003).

Filing a consumer protection claim presents a substantially increased level of evidence and jurisdiction requirements when your client is a business. Beware of the consequences and potential wasted time you may use when filing a claim without having every element met. Simply because Massachusetts provides for an express right for businesses to file claims, doe not mean that judges will be willing to overlook even the smallest discrepancies in the pleading requirements.

The Devil in Massachusetts – A Modern Enquiry Into the Salem Witch Trials by Marion L Starkey

The back cover of the edition of The Devil in Massachusetts I read stated that Ms. Starkey “applies modern psychiatric knowledge to the witchcraft hysteria” which plagued Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. Although Starkey’s work is obviously well-researched and is historically authentic, it is neither an enquiry nor a psychological evaluation with new insights into the mass panic caused by several seriously disturbed young girls. She poses question after question to the reader yet puts none of her own conclusions or hypotheses to any of them.

The Devil in Massachusetts is elegantly written based on Starkey’s research of actual trial transcripts, historical records and publications of the time. However her penchant for asking questions, double negatives and placing subordinate clauses at the beginning of sentences does cause the reader to double-back much of the time to re-read passages to understand her message.

The absence of any meaningful dissertation on the population may be a moot point in this post 9/11 world, whatever conclusions could be drawn in Starkey’s 1949 publication. Still it would be interesting to know what caused several young girls, ages eight to eighteen, to suddenly fall into convulsing fits and claim they were being tortured by invisible imps. They ‘cried out’ members of the community, mostly women, as their tormentors.

Arrests were issued and carried out with frequency to bring the accused before magistrates who firmly believe in the existence of witches. More disturbing than the girls made-up hysterics was the courts’ complete buy-in of the ‘spectral evidence’, unseen witches and wizards observed ONLY by the afflicted girls. And they weren’t the only ones. Families of the accused disowned their relatives at the mere thought of being related to a witch, even if the woman had never shown any behavior remotely reminiscent of witchcraft. Others stood by their loved ones, bringing countless witnesses to testify on their behalf. Cooler minds did not prevail as the shrieks and howlings of pre-teen girls gave precedence over more knowledgeable and sane people.

Other towns in the Salem area such as Andover and Ipswich encountered similar episodes but by now sanity began to take hold and these cases were dismissed as quickly as they began.

The self-important Massachusetts preacher Cotton Mathers got caught up in the hysteria as well and through his own reticence and culpability, failed to rescue a man whom he concluded to be innocent. In later years, he managed to attach his name to saving the souls of condemned pirates, a crime with more tangible and concrete evidence against the accused.

Despite the lack of any new insights on the Salem witch trials, The Devil in Massachusetts is a great glimpse into the mass confusion, terror and murder in pre-colonial New England. It does cause one to recall the old adage about history repeating itself, but if Starkey did not enlighten us onto the psychological reasoning behind the panic, are we repeating it now? The days of hunting witches to hang them or burn them at the stakes are over. But what about our current ‘witch hunts’ against persons of difference race, religion or sexual orientation?

I guess the answer to the first question is ‘yes’.

Regionalizing of Emergency Dispatch Services in Massachusetts

The regionalizing of emergency dispatch services is a hot topic in many Massachusetts counties as of late. Grants are being given, committees are being formed, and studies are being conducted. Why all the time and effort, when, if you simply look to the rest of the country, it seems like a worthwhile trend?

As a matter of fact, Massachusetts is one of the only states that has not, for the most part, regionalized its dispatch services. Granted, it takes years, investment and dedication to accomplish such an undertaking. Case in point: the State of Oregon worked for 16 years to regionalize the dispatch of its state police services, but it was worth it. Now, there are two command centers that act as primary points of contact for all state police needs across the state – instead of 26. Tax payers’ money is saved, scales of economies are realized, and updated technologies are enjoyed throughout the state.

These are the emergent themes from all around the country – taxpayer savings, efficient dispatch processes, more dependable higher-tech technologies. According to Thomas Dubas who runs a dispatch center in Lackawanna County, Pa, and was hired to advise on the regionalizing proposal, “The level of expertise, the level of training, and the level of service that a regional center can provide is just so much more responsive for the communities,” he said. Why, then, hasn’t Massachusetts followed suit?

It’s not that the ideas haven’t been presented. In the last three years, Essex, Plymouth and Worcester counties have all brought up proposals for regionalizing emergency dispatch services. And with any Massachusetts proposal, there have been dissenters. Those opposed to the combining of services, site possible layoffs, lack of presence in overnight facilities to greet visitors, and varying degrees of dispatcher familiarity with towns involved, as main reasons to veto.

It’s not that they don’t see the financial and procedural benefits of such a project, but those opposed do not want to rush into something without looking at it from every angle. The reason to regionalize emergency dispatch services should not be for finances alone. There is an obviously-human element to the work performed by dispatch personnel. A large degree of the work the dispatchers perform now is to walk-ins, as well as monitoring late-night activities. If towns combined dispatch efforts, those high-touch elements would be eliminated.

However, it is hard to overlook the hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money that could be saved, especially in a time where agencies are expected to do less with more, and budget cuts are forcing every department to look more thoroughly than ever at its expenditures. And when you get right down to it, almost every other state is already combining emergency service management – and doing it successfully. If nothing else, then there are plenty of case studies to show us the way to regionalize emergency dispatch for our own success.

The Best Ways to Play The Games of The Massachusetts State Lottery

Instant Win Scratch Tickets

Have you ever been to a corner store and witnessed an unusual flood of people there, many in and out of their cars, some just sitting mesmerized in a trancelike state, and wondered, ‘what on earth is going on here’? What you have just witnessed is the result of a new release of an Instant Win Scratch Ticket from the Massachusetts State Lottery. I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that it’s all about entertainment and money. There really is only one thing capable of generating that type of excitement at corner stores and ‘quick stop gas stations’ throughout the state so, there’s also no wondering why the state holds a ‘legalized monopoly’ on the industry.

You may however, have wondered, ‘how do all those people know when a new instant win game is released’? The answer is, they watch for new release announcements on the New Lottery Instant Game Tickets page of the Massachusetts State Lottery Official Web Site. In this way they are always apprised of new opportunities to hit the jackpot.

As for the sudden furor of it all, it can be explained simply with what’s well know throughout the ‘scratching community’, in an attempt to gain popularity for a game, each new instant games release is saturated with winning tickets.

So, now a week as gone by and the crowds have dissipated at the ‘scratching posts’ and you a have some former presidents burning a hole in you pocket. Short of a cold shower, you decide what to do, buy yourself some instant win lottery tickets! Now comes the dilemma, which games tickets to buy? Before extinguishing those fiery historical figures, refer to the Instant Prizes Claims page of the Massachusetts State Lottery Official Web Site. Additionally you may want to check the Instant Prizes Under 1,000,000 page.

What you are looking for is the claimed vs. total columns on the right side on both of the listing pages. By scanning those two columns you can easily see how many prizes are both available and claimed. Now at this point it becomes perfectly obvious that you only want to purchase tickets for games that have more unclaimed prizes than claimed prizes. After all, why throw away your hard earned money on a 46 claimed prizes out of 50 available prizes game ticket when you can purchase a 28 vs. 66 or 18 vs. 80 and have something on the order of 30 to 60 more chances of winning the grand prize amount! Granted though, all those winners will not be in circulation at the time of your purchase.

This begs the question of how much money to spend on your instant win ticket purchase. Most “professional ‘scratchers’” remark, you must spend at least $100 on one game at one time to have any real chance of winning a jackpot, claiming, you really need several full fresh sheets of tickets in order to better your chances of your scratching revealing that jackpot. However prudence dictates you can only buy as many scratch tickets as your budget will allow. So, if spending $100 simply is not in your budget today, perhaps over time, putting some money aside for a ‘new instant win release treat day’ would be an acceptable way to both play by the ‘rules’ and, make it relatively ‘affordable’ to do so.

Cash WinFall

A ‘one wheel’ game, Cash WinFall, being the Massachusetts State Lotteries newest game, has an interesting twist on its jackpot. The money is rolled down to lesser winners! If no grand prize has been won before the jackpot pool reaches $2 Million, that $2,000,000.00 or more then gets dissipated through to all lower level wins of that draw. Meaning, if the jackpot is $2 Million or more, and there is no jackpot winner, that $2 Million goes to all the prize winners in that drawing. Pretty neat! Now it’s quite obvious when to play Cash WinFall!

Mega Millions

A two wheel game, Mega Millions is the Massachusetts version of the highly popular multi state game PowerBall. Being a 2 wheel game, the odds are quite high against picking all 6 winning numbers. In fact they are quite a bit higher than PowerBall odds. One would naturally assume because the odds are higher, there would be less frequent winners with higher jackpots. That simply is not the case. PowerBall has jackpot winners, on average over the past year, approximately once every 6 weeks (8 winners) with 9 figure jackpots numbering 4. While Mega Millions has jackpot winners, on average over the past year, approximately once every 4 weeks (14 winners) with 9 figure jackpots also numbering 4. One can reasonably assert that those figures are a result of the participating states population and economic demographics.

So how do all those people win? The Official Web Site of Mega Millions states quite clearly on its Winning Picks page [http://www.megamillions.com/winningpicks/download_numbers.asp] that ‘Lottery games such as Mega Millions are random and it is impossible for anyone or any lottery analysis software to predict exactly what will be the next drawn balls. However, patterns can still be observed from the balls that are randomly drawn for different periods of time’. That being said, you can obviously have a better chance of winning through a lottery related form of Statistical Analysis. For more information on Statistical Analysis and how it applies to the Massachusetts State Lottery, visit MassLotteryResult.com. So, when should you play this game? You should really only play Mega Millions about the 4th week after every jackpot winner!

The Numbers Game

A 4 wheel game and the oldest of the Massachusetts State Lottery Games, The Numbers Game has been in operation since 1975. More than 10,000 drawings have made players the happy winners of tens, hundreds and, thousands of dollars every day. Number odds being quite reasonable, one would assume winning this game to be relatively easy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact is, the way you are forced to play this game aids in stacking the odds much farther against you than you may think. With it’s all 4 any 4, first 3 last 3 any or exact, 2 digit combinations, .25c, .50c, $1, $2, and $5 play options, coupled with payouts less than $10,000, playing this game is a real challenge, as too is it’s worthiness of being played. What the designers of this old lottery game seem to have overlooked is,it’s not how to play but what you win, something the newer games embrace fully. That being said, The Numbers Game does have its merits. There are lots of people out there who only want to bet .25c or .50c and, not even Keno offers that option. What this game really needs is a simple ‘any 3’ option including a ‘$5 only’ bet and a maximum $500 payout. That alone could catapult the popularity of The Numbers Game to stratospheric levels. So what’s the best way to play this game? .25c and 50c bets only, any combinations you want. The layman perspective is, pick 4 out of 40 on The Numbers Game and maybe win $10,000. Pick 5 out of 35 on MassCash and definitely win $100,000, spending $1 or more should be saved for MassCash.

MassCash

An older ‘one wheel’ game that, since its inception in 1991, has paid its $100,000 jackpot to more than 2500 winners! With its reasonable odds and reasonable payouts it’s easy to see why this older game continues to be popular. With jackpot winners nearly every drawing, and multiple winner too, you can play this game whenever it’s drawn!

MegaBucks

An older ‘one wheel’ game that, since its inception in 1982, has paid more than 1700 winners varying prize amounts totaling about $2.5 Billion. A fairly tough game to win, jackpot winners are, on average, paid out every 10 -12 drawings. So, naturally you only play this game every 10 – 12 draws after a jackpot winner.

Keno

A ‘newer one wheel’ computer driven game and a masterpiece of modern gambling Keno, is designed for people with a lot of time on their hands. After all, where else can you have a chance to win $1 Million every 5 minutes 21 hours a day, 6 days a week, and 13 hours on Sunday! When should you play this game? Whenever you’ve had just enough to drink to think you can actually pick 12 of the 20 numbers drawn from a pool of 80. Seriously, Keno is a very fun game and, when played correctly, can create hours of enjoyment for little to no money spent. In fact people have been known to play all night and leave no poorer than when they started! How is that? Keno allows you to win if you don’t pick any of the winning numbers! Amazing! Well, maybe not all that amazing as Lottery Officials have obviously figured out that it’s harder to not pick any of the winners than to pick 1, 2 ,3 or 4 winners when playing a 12, 11 or 10 spot game as you don’t win anything for picking less than 5 winning numbers. But, if you are the unluckiest person around you could win all night long! So how do you play this game? The odds are just as good winning a prize on the 7 spot wager as the 1 spot wager so play the 7 spot though the best over all odds are on the 2 spot wager. Simply show up, pick you numbers, pay for however many games your visit will cover and, cash out when you leave.

The Massachusetts Habitual Traffic Offender Law

In Massachusetts, a Habitual Traffic Offender is someone who, in any rolling 5 year period, has three or more convictions for operating under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, reckless driving, or leaving the scene of an accident; or twelve or more convictions for other reportable violations such as speeding, failure to stop for a red light or stop sign, failure to stay within marked lanes, etc,

When determining whether someone qualifies as a habitual traffic offender, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles uses conviction dates and not the dates upon which the motor vehicle offenses were committed. Also, out of state convictions are counted just as if they had occurred in Massachusetts. Once someone is declared a Habitual Traffic Offender, the accumulation of any new qualifying violations will generate additional Habitual Traffic Offender license revocations unless and until the older violations drop outside of the rolling 5 year HTO look-back period.

It is possible to become a Habitual Traffic Offender overnight, in a single incident. For example, suppose a driver is convicted of operating under the influence, which is commonly referred to in Massachusetts as DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. This is a common scenario where a driver is alleged to have crashed into something and left the scene, because he or she had been drinking. In addition to the license suspensions associated with the DUI and the 60 day suspensions for leaving the scene and negligent operation, the driver will automatically be declared a face a Habitual Traffic Offender and face four (4) year revocation of his or her license or right to operate a motor vehicle in Massachusetts.

Someone could lose their license for four (4) years, as a Habitual Traffic Offender, by accumulating minor violations such as speeding tickets over any rolling 5 year period. It is for this reason that drivers should not only drive carefully, but they should also consider appealing traffic citations within the 20 appeal period. Once labeled as Habitual Traffic Offenders, many people regret not having appealed their tickets. Once the 4 year license revocation is triggered, it is too late to appeal.

The good news for Massachusetts Habitual Traffic Offenders is that both the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Board of Appeal of the Division of Insurance can consider you for a limited 12 hour hardship license, after you have served 1 year of the 4 year mandatory license revocation. It is important not to have any recent charges showing that you were driving on a suspended license, to receive favorable hardship consideration, which is completely discretionary. This means that there is not automatic right to a hardship license, even in the case of a 4 year HTO revocation.

Massachusetts Immediate Threat Suspensions

G.L. c. 90, Sec. 22(a) grants the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles broad power to indefinitely revoke a driver’s license for violations of the motor vehicle laws which constitute an immediate threat to the public safety. A revocation under the immediate threat law has been determined not to constitute a punishment and, therefore, a criminal prosecutions and non-punitive immediate threat suspension arising out of the same incident, such as an operating under the influence event, does not violate the double jeopardy clause of the United States Constitution or Massachusetts common, statutory, or constitutional law.

These indefinite license revocations are usually triggered by a police officer filing a report with the RMV wherein he explains why allowing the driver to remain on the road constitutes an immediate threat to public safety. Sometimes the issue is medical related such as a case where a person is operating under the influence of prescription medication. In other cases, the report is generated as a result of dangerous or reckless driving witnessed by or reported to a police officer. Immediate threat reports may involve companion criminal charges.

The legal standard for an indefinite immediate threat revocation, which the Registry had wide latitude in interpreting, is that the driver “has committed a violation of the motor vehicle laws of a nature which would give the Registrar reason to believe that continuing operation by such holder is and will be so seriously improper as to constitute an immediate threat to the public safety.”

The immediate threat statute requires that the Registrar find that a license holder poses such a significant threat to public safety, that the license should be summarily taken. Additionally, law requires that the Registrar provide the operator with a notice specifying the time and place of the violation or incident that led to the immediate threat suspension.

Anyone who is had his or her license or right to operate revoked as an immediate threat is entitled to a hearing at the Registry of Motor Vehicles within 30 days of the revocation and the driver is entitled to be represented by a lawyer. Massachusetts Immediate threat revocations are indefinite in nature, meaning that the revocation will not terminate unless and until the license holder has proven to the Registry’s satisfaction that the causes of the past or present violations or issues of concern have been brought under control such that the driver no longer poses a threat to the motoring public. A Registry of Motor Vehicles lawyer can help you make this showing and get your license reinstated. The RMV charges a $500.00 reinstatement fee for immediate threat suspensions.

Stopping a Foreclosure in Massachusetts by Filing a Complaint or Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Efforts by Massachusetts homeowners to stop foreclosure sales gained valuable traction from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s recent request that lenders and loan servicers suspend foreclosures in light of recent disclosures of widespread abuse among financial institutions. The widespread publicity in the media regarding misconduct by financial institutions offers ammunition for homeowners who wish to stop a foreclosure sale by filing a complaint and motion for preliminary injunction in court.

Because Massachusetts is a “non-judicial” foreclosure state, the foreclosure process proceeds extremely quickly (often, in as little as 90 days) and with essentially no judicial oversight unless a homeowner files a legal action in court to stop the foreclosure process. This may be done by the filing of a complaint and motion for a preliminary injunction. Sample Massachusetts foreclosure defense forms, including complaints and preliminary injunction motions, are available for download.

The announcements by the Office of the Attorney General, together with the considerable protections offered by the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, provide powerful ammunition for stopping a foreclosure sale in Massachusetts. A Massachusetts homeowner trying to stop a foreclosure sale may raise a number of powerful arguments and causes of action, including:

  • Fraud/duress as a result of misrepresentations made to the homeowner by the initial lender at the time of the loan;
  • Illegality of the underlying loan due to its egregiously high costs that were deceptively withheld and/or concealed at the time of the loan;
  • Failure of the loan servicer to provide foreclosure notices required under Massachusetts law; and
  • Lack of standing (i.e., the financial institution does not possess the initial note and/or cannot produce a complete chain of assignments).

Complaints to stop foreclosure and motions for preliminary injunctions should be filed in the Superior Court for the county in which the property is located.

Payroll Massachusetts, Unique Aspects of Massachusetts Payroll Law and Practice

The Massachusetts State Agency that oversees the collection and reporting of State income taxes deducted from payroll checks is:

Department of Revenue

51 Sleeper St.

Boston, MA 02205

(617) 887-6367

(800) 392-6089 (in state)

http://www.state.ma.us/dor/dorpg.htm

Massachusetts allows the use of the federal W-4 form if exemptions claimed are the same for state and federal. Otherwise, you must use “M4 Massachusetts Employee’s Withholding Exemption Certificate” for Massachusetts income tax withholding.

Not all states allow salary reductions made under Section 125 cafeteria plans or 401(k) to be treated in the same manner as the IRS code allows. In Massachusetts cafeteria plans are not taxable for income tax calculation; taxable for unemployment insurance purposes. 401(k) plan deferrals are not taxable for income taxes; taxable for unemployment purposes.

In Massachusetts supplemental wages are required to be aggregated for the state income tax withholding calculation.

You must file your Massachusetts State W-2s by magnetic media if you are required to file your federal W-2s by magnetic media.

The Massachusetts State Unemployment Insurance Agency is:

Division of Employment Security

Charles F. Hurley Bldg.

19 Staniford St., 5th Fl. DET

Boston, MA 02114-2589

(617) 626-6855

http://www.detma.org/

The State of Massachusetts taxable wage base for unemployment purposes is wages up to $14,000.00.

Massachusetts requires Magnetic media reporting of quarterly wage reporting if the employer has at least 250 employees that they are reporting that quarter.

Unemployment records must be retained in Massachusetts for a minimum period of four years. This information generally includes: name; social security number; dates of hire, rehire and termination; wages by period; payroll pay periods and pay dates; date and circumstances of termination.

The Massachusetts State Agency charged with enforcing the state wage and hour laws is:

Department of Labor and Industries

Fair Labor and Business Practices Division

200 Portland St.

Boston, MA 02114

(617) 727-3465

http://www.ago.state.ma.us/

The minimum wage in Massachusetts is $6.75 per hour.

The general provision in Massachusetts concerning paying overtime in a non-FLSA covered employer is one and one half times regular rate after 40-hour week.

Massachusetts State new hire reporting requirements are that every employer must report every new hire and rehire and contractors over $600. The employer must report the federally required elements of:

  • Employee’s name
  • date of hire or contract
  • Employee’s address
  • Employee’s social security number
  • Employer’s name
  • Employers address
  • Employer’s Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)

This information must be reported within 14 days of the hiring or rehiring.

The information can be sent as a W4 or equivalent by mail, fax or electronically.

There is a $25.00 penalty for a late report and $500 for conspiracy in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts new hire-reporting agency can be reached at 800-332-2733 or 617-626-4154 or on the web at http://www.cse.state.ma.us/.

Massachusetts does not allow compulsory direct deposit.

Massachusetts requires the following information on an employee’s pay stub:

  • Gross and Net Earnings
  • Employer’s and employee’s name.
  • payment date
  • amount and nature of deductions
  • increases
  • straight time and overtime pay
  • hours worked
  • itemized deductions

Massachusetts requires that employee be paid biweekly or weekly; semimonthly or biweekly for FLSA-exempts or salaried employees (monthly if they agree).

Massachusetts requires that the lag time between the end of the pay period and the payment of wages to the employee not exceed six days if workweek is 5 or 6 days; 7 days after pay period if workweek is 7 days or less than 5 days.

Massachusetts payroll law requires that involuntarily terminated employees must be paid their final pay immediately and that voluntarily terminated employees must be paid their final pay by the next regular payday (if there is none, the next Saturday) or by mail if employee requests it.

Deceased employee’s wages of $100 must be paid to the surviving spouse, adult child, or parent (in that order) 30 days after death and if there is no will.

Escheat laws in Massachusetts require that unclaimed wages be paid over to the state after three years.

The employer is further required in Massachusetts to keep a record of the wages abandoned and turned over to the state for a period of 5 years.

Massachusetts’s payroll law mandates no more than $4.125 may be used as a tip credit.

In Massachusetts the payroll laws covering mandatory rest or meal breaks are only that all employees must have 30 minutes rest after six hours of work.

Massachusetts’s statute requires that wage and hour records be kept for a period of not less than two years. These records will normally consist of at least the information required under FLSA.

The Massachusetts agency charged with enforcing Child Support Orders and laws is:

Massachusetts Department of Revenue

Child Support Enforcement Division

51 Sleeper St.

P.O. Box 9492

Boston, MA 02205-9492

(800) 332-2733

http://www.cse.state.ma.us/

Massachusetts has the following provisions for child support deductions:

  • When to start Withholding? Next payday more than 3 days after notice.
  • When to send Payment? Within 3 days of Payday.
  • When to send Termination Notice? Within 3 days of payday.
  • Maximum Administrative Fee? $1 per payment.
  • Withholding Limits? Federal Rules under CCPA.

Please note that this article is not updated for changes that can and will happen from time to time.