The Law @ Work

New Minimum Wage Regulations Impact Employers’ Posting and Recordkeeping Obligations

by Amelia J. Holstrom

As discussed in our previous blog post, the Massachusetts Department of Labor recently issued new minimum wage regulations that included significant changes to the previous regulations regarding employee uniforms.  Those regulations also include new rules that affect employer’s obligations with respect to posting employee notices and maintaining records related to employee pay.

Previously, employers were required to post in a conspicuous place a workplace notice issued by the Commonwealth that notified employees of the minimum wage rates and other wage-related information.  There was no requirement that the posting be made in any particular language, so most employers simply posted an English version of the poster.  The January 16, 2015 regulations, however, now require that the posters be posted in English and “in any other language that is spoken by 5% or more of the employer’s workforce and for which a translated notice in that language is available from the Commonwealth.”  Notably, the statute does not specify that the additional language must be the primary language of 5% or more of the workforce; thus, even if English is the primary language of 100% of your workforce, if 5% of your workforce speaks another language, such as Spanish, you would have to post the notice in that other language.

Additionally, there have been some changes to the employer recordkeeping requirements.  Under the previous regulations, employers needed to keep records of the employee’s name, complete address, social security number, occupation, amount paid each pay period, the hours worked each day, and the dates each employee worked.  Those records had to be kept on file by the employer for at least two years.  The new regulation maintains those requirements but now also requires employers to keep records pertaining to vacation pay, rate of pay, deductions made from wages, and any fees or amounts charged to the employee.  The new regulations also increase the time period for keeping these records from two years to three years.  In addition, and perhaps most important, the new regulation provides that an employee may request copies of such records as pertain to him or her, and that employers must provide the employee with copies of the records within ten business days of an employee’s request.  Such request may be made orally or in writing.

Next in the series we will discuss changes to the regulations regarding deductions for lodging and meals.

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