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I work in MA.

I am currently paid hourly. My current contract states

Number of work hours per week: 40 hrs

however, the employer and I have an understanding that I may work more hours. The employer will compensate me respectively.

I was just offered a part-time position, also paying hourly. The contract states

The Employee will be compensated at a rate of $$$ per hour for a maximum of X hours per month.

Am I correct in saying that the employer is still required to compensate me for all hours over X worked?

Thank you.

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  • Where is this? Employment law is location specific.
    – Dale M
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 3:54

2 Answers 2

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Am I correct in saying that the employer is still required to compensate me for all hours over X worked?

Yes, but not necessarily at the same rate that is stated in the contract unless the the matter is addressed elsewhere in the contract.

The excerpt you post indicates that the contract only encompasses X hours. This is an explicit limit of that contract. Anything over the X hours is beyond the scope of that contract, whence the excess constitutes a separate agreement. Unless you and the employer intend to apply the same rate, you two should agree beforehand --and preferably in writing-- the applicable rate in regard to that excess of hours.

That being said, chapter 151, section 1A, provides that "a work week longer than forty hours" shall be compensated "at a rate not less than one and one half times the regular rate at which he is employed" (the regular rate being the one from your current contract). Section 1B indicates that a contractual waiver of this provision is null and void ("An agreement between the person and the employer to work for less than the overtime rate of compensation shall not be a defense to such action").

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  • Thank you for your response. I only marked the other as the answer because they responded first. Both responses are incredibly helpful. Thank you.
    – Oliver
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 13:27
  • So, if I work over X hours, the employer is still required to compensate me, but is not required to at the agreed upon rate for the first X hours?
    – Oliver
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 13:33
  • "is not required to at the agreed upon rate for the first X hours?" No. Paying the same rate seems reasonable, but you would have no way to disprove the employer's possible allegation that you agreed (for instance, verbally) to a lower rate for the excess. Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 13:39
  • Thank you for clarifying. I do not foresee this becoming a problem.
    – Oliver
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 13:55
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You are entitled to get paid for every hour that you work.

An employer trying to rip you off might reduce your hourly rate down to the minimum legal hourly rate, and claim that they are paying you for each hour worked, but you don't actually have more money in your pocket. In that case you can and obviously would refuse to work more hours than the one in the contract. Say the contract says $20 per hour, up to 80 hours a month. Minimum wage is $10 per hour. You work 160 hours per month; they could try to claim that your wage dropped down to $10 per hour.

What this means in a normal case say with "80 hours per month" limit is that your manager or supervisor is not supposed to ask you to work over 80 hours a month, that you have the right to refuse, that on the over hand if you want to do overtime your manager can send you home. And if everyone agrees that you work 100 hours in a month your manager might have problems making the company's payroll pay up for 100 hours, or he might get in trouble for spending too much on wages, but you have the right to get paid.

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  • So, if I work over X hours, the employer is still required to compensate me, but is not required to at the agreed upon rate for the first X hours?
    – Oliver
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 13:33

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