Wages include salaries, commissions (when their amount has been definitely determined and they are due and payable), tips, and holiday and vacation pay (earned under an oral or written agreement). An annual bonus is not considered wages when it has a contingency attached, such as continued employment. In Massachusetts, accrued, unused sick time does not count as wages.
Waivers not permitted. No employer may exempt itself from the requirements of this law by entering into special contracts with employees or by any other means.
All tips must be kept by the employee or shared through a valid tip-pooling arrangement (MA Gen. Laws Ch. 149 Sec. 152A). Tipped employees must be notified of the law. The Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled that a service charge imposed by a business in lieu of a tip must be paid to the individual providing the service (DiFiore v. Am. Airlines, Inc., 454 Mass. 486 (2009)). The employees in this case were skycaps who worked at the airline’s terminal but were employed by a staffing company that had a contract with the airline for skycap services. The airline imposed a service charge for each piece of luggage checked by a skycap but argued that it did not owe any portion of the money to the skycaps because they were employees of the staffing company, not the airline. The Court ruled that the law was intended to ensure that individuals providing a service receive the tips, gratuities, and service charges that customers intend for them to receive, regardless of whether they are direct employees or contract workers.