Many people who work in retail sales are paid on a commission basis, meaning they only get paid based on how much they sell, but with no additional pay for working overtime or Sundays and holidays. In a case that we helped pursue against a local furniture retailer called Sullivan v. Sleepy’s LLC, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that this practice was illegal and that employers must pay their commission-based salespeople separate and additional hourly compensation for overtime, Sunday, and holiday work. The Court ruled that employers cannot “credit” commissions towards their employees’ overtime and Sunday pay, but must instead make those payments independently of any sales-based incentive compensation the employees receive and that the rate employers pay must be equal to at least 1.5 times the state’s minimum wage — in other words, at least $18 per hour.


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